UA Researchers Lead Gulf Coast Oil Spill Study

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two University of Alabama biologists are leading a new, three-year,  $1.5 million study of the 2010 oil spill’s impact on the northern Gulf of Mexico in an effort to improve responses to future spills.

Dr. Behzad Mortazavi, UA associate professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Patricia Sobecky, associate provost for academic affairs and professor of biological sciences, are part of a multidisciplinary team of scientists conducting the research.

The study focuses on the role biodiversity – the measurement of the variety of organisms in an environment – played in the northern Gulf of Mexico’s ecological recovery.

“Gaining full comprehension of the impacts from both the Deepwater Horizon spill and the subsequent clean-up efforts, including the use of dispersant, will take many years,” said Mortazavi. “Ecosystems are fragile and yet, at times, they can be extremely resilient. We want to continue looking at how the area’s biodiversity may have contributed to its resiliency.”

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