Friday, March 25, 2011

Grant Awards Fund The Search For Solutions In Disaster Aftermath

By Michelle Conner

A fishnet is more than a style of hosiery. It's also the name of a marine life database upon which researchers exploring the effects of the BP Horizon oil spill rely. Thanks to a grant provided to a university in New Orleans, Louisiana, Fishnet2, as it's known, is also undergoing an expansion.

With Fishnet 2, researchers can obtain scientific information that's been collected over the course of years, an announcement from the university noted. This information, which the institution's Museum of Natural History oversees, is related to fish and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico, the announcement noted. With a near-$200,000 grant to help the university add water-related research to the database, researchers in addition to fish and marine life names are to be able to obtain information about the waters they inhabit, according to the announcement.

The grant money provided to help the Louisiana institution expand its Fishnet2 service came from the National Science Foundation. The institution plans to put the money toward adding information to the database such as water depths and surface geography, the announcement noted. Hank Bart, an ecology and evolutionary biology professor, works as the university Museum of Natural History director and curator of fishes. He was quoted in the announcement as saying that the database changes would allow oil spill researchers to ask questions where they might better determine through Fishnet2 the oil spill's potential effects. Grant money is also set aside for students that want to earn science degrees, learn more by searching for financial aid on the internet.

The National Science Foundation provided an oil spill-related grant also to a Georgia research university. Patricia Medeiros and Samantha Joye, both marine sciences researchers, received what's known as "rapid response" grant money. The research that Joye and Medeiros intend to carry out with the grant money is to focus on carbon in the water having to do with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In addition to killing 11 workers on the oil rig, the April oil spill ushered into the Gulf of Mexico what's been reported to be as many as billions of gallons of petroleum oil. Although BP by June was beginning to provide research universities with some $500 million in grants to carry out independent research, according to an announcement from the company. A consortium of 20 colleges and universities in Florida, including a Florida oceanography institute, was among the BP grant recipients. If research like this is fascinating to you and you would like to enter the field, go online for more information about scholarship to learn about all of your options.

In Florida in July, a university in Florida revealed the results of a survey suggesting that the oil spill could have negative impacts on an already suffering real estate industry. The university's Center for Real Estate Studies Director Timothy Becker was quoted in a news release as saying that the spill had created a "giant cloud of uncertainty" that effected different markets throughout the state. South Florida's real estate market was most vital at the time and the number of foreclosed residences, while down statewide, still ranked third in the country, behind Arizona and Nevada, according to Becker.

The state's marshes, like those of Louisiana, also are the subject of study. Marshes are known in part for cleaning water that fills drinking water supplies. An Associated Press report in Business Week in November, as well as an October New Orleans Times-Picayune article, reported that Louisiana's oyster beds, which had already suffered losses as a result of coastal restoration projects, also were effected by fresh water that was diverted to keep oil at bay.

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