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MESC Block Grant

The Alabama Marine Environmental Science Consortium (MESC) received a $5 million research award from BP. The consortium selected four research themes and established a category for Small Grants for Exploratory Research. Projects were vetted by a panel of oil experts at Harte Research Institute. The MESC Executive Committee gave a final review and approval of work plans. Fifty-one projects were funded that included 105 scientists in fourteen MESC institutions. The MESC includes twenty-two Alabama four-year colleges and universities, with Dauphin Island Sea Lab serving as host for the consortium. For additional information, read the MESC/DISL press release.

For an overview of the MESC Block Grant research, see the MESC Research Presentation from the GoMRI Fall 2011 Meeting in New Orleans.

55 Projects

A Molecular Survey of Marine Cilliates in Oil-Spill Contaminated Waters

Principal Investigator: David Johnson -- Samford University, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Member Institutions: Samford University, University of South Florida

An Examination of Pre- and Post-Spill Ichthyoplankton Assemblage Dynamics

Principal Investigator: Frank Hernandez -- University of Southern Mississippi, Division of Coastal Sciences
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Florida, University of Southern Mississippi

Analysis of hydrocarbons (PAHS) in sediment samples

Principal Investigator: Joel Hayworth -- Auburn University, Department of Civil Engineering
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida

Analysis of the Biodegradative Microbial Population and their Genes in Deepwater Horizon Oil Contaminated Water and Sediments of Coastal Alabama

Principal Investigator: Asim Bej -- University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Biology
Member Institutions: The University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Assessing the Impact of Oil/Dispersant on Marine Sponges and their Symbiotic Communities

Principal Investigator: Julie Olson -- The University of Alabama, Department of Biological Sciences
Member Institutions: Auburn University at Montgomery, The University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of South Florida

Assessing the Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on the Diamondback Terrapin: a Top Carnivore and Keystone Species in the Salt Marshes of Alabama

Principal Investigator: Thane Wibbels -- University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Biology
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Assessment of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Degradation Using Mineralization Assay and Functional Gene Analysis

Principal Investigator: Yucheng Feng -- Auburn University, Department of Agronomy and Soils
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida

Biomarker Prospecting: Detection of Impacts of DHOS-related Hydrocarbon & Dispersant Discharge in North-Central Gulf of Mexico Estuaries Using Gulf Killifish, Fundulus Grandis, As an Aquatic Vertebrate Sentinel

Principal Investigator: Stephen Bullard -- Auburn University, Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Member Institutions: Auburn University, The University of Alabama, University of South Florida

Biorenewable Seafood Wastes for Removal or in Situ Remediation of Complex Oil Or Oil/Dispersant Mixtures in the Gulf of Mexico

Principal Investigator: Robin Rogers -- The University of Alabama, Center for Green Manufacturing
Member Institutions: The University of Alabama, University of South Florida

Biotransformation of BP Oil Spill Using Hydrocarbon-Utilizing Marine Microbes

Principal Investigator: B. Robertson -- Alabama State University, Department of Biological Sciences
Member Institutions: Alabama State University, University of Cincinnati, University of South Florida

Chemical Dispersants in the Marine Environment: Harnessing the Fish Acute Phase Response for Rapid and Sensitive Evaluation of Exposure

Principal Investigator: Stephen Watts -- University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Biology
Member Institutions: University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of South Florida

Chemical Engineering Applications to Study the Chemical Evolution and Biological Degradation of the Oil-Dispersant Systems and Subsequent Interaction with the Marine and Coastal Ecosystems

Principal Investigator: Christoffer Turner -- The University of Alabama, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Member Institutions: Auburn University, Auburn University at Montgomery, Florida State University, The University of Alabama, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida, Vassar College

Composing Gridded Surface Wind Field Data through Observations and Numerical Modeling

Principal Investigator: Sytske Kimball -- University of South Alabama, Department of Earth Sciences
Member Institutions: University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Determining the Degradation Rate Constants of the Hydrocarbons from the Macondo Well and Weathered Oil in Alabama Beaches and Marshes

Principal Investigator: Behzad Mortazavi -- The University of Alabama, Department of Biological Sciences
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), The University of Alabama, University of South Florida

Development of High-Fidelity Lagrangian Tracking Module for Oceanic Dispersion-Sedimentation Predictions

Principal Investigator: Chien-Pin Chen -- University of Alabama in Huntsville, Chemical and Materials Engineering
Member Institutions: University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of South Florida

Enhanced Detection of Hydrocabons through Optical Scattering

Principal Investigator: Mark Adams -- University of South Alabama, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Member Institutions: University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Environmental Chemistry of the BP Oil Spill

Principal Investigator: Jan Gryko -- Jacksonville State University, Department of Physical and Earth Sciences
Member Institutions: Jacksonville State University, The University of Alabama, Troy University, Tuskegee University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of North Alabama, University of South Florida

Evaluating the Changing Surfactant Capabilities of Sodium Dioctyl Sulfosuccinate and Its Commercial Product Forms of Corexit EC9500A, Corexit EC9527A and Corexit EC9580A in a Marine System

Principal Investigator: David Steffy -- Jacksonville State University, Department of Environmental Science and Geology
Member Institutions: Jacksonville State University, University of South Florida

Exploring the Mechanisms of Nitrate-aided Biodegradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbon under Anaerobic Conditions

Principal Investigator: Kewei Yu -- Troy University, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Member Institutions: Troy University, University of South Florida

Feasibility study of applying multi-spectral acoustical imaging techniques to estimate physical distribution of oil-derived substances in the water columns in the Alabama Gulf coast and Mobile Bay

Principal Investigator: Adel Sakla -- University of South Alabama, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Member Institutions: University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Flow Structures on the Northern Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico Using Drifters and Underway Velocity Profiles

Principal Investigator: Arnoldo Valle-Levinson -- University of Florida, Civil and Coastal Engineering
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of Florida, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Food Web Impacts of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coastal Alabama Waterfowl

Principal Investigator: Charles Martin -- Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Alabama Programs
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Florida

Framework for Dynamic Configuration and Interoperability of Heterogeneous Off-shore Oil Spill Wireless Sensor Networks

Principal Investigator: Waleed Al-Assadi -- University of South Alabama, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Member Institutions: University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Gene Quantification to Elucidate Intrinsic Bioremediation Potential and Efficacy in the Oil Impacted Gulf Sediment

Principal Investigator: Ahjeong Son -- Auburn University, Department of Civil Engineering
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Genetic Implications of Relocating Loggerhead Sea Turtle Eggs from the Alabama Coast in Response to the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Layton -- Samford University, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Member Institutions: Samford University, University of South Florida

Geophysical Characterization of the Water Column and Seafloor on the Alabama Continental Shelf

Principal Investigator: Andrew Goodliffe -- The University of Alabama, Department of Geological Sciences
Member Institutions: The University of Alabama, University of South Florida

Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Integrity: Resilience of Seagrass Beds to Oil Contamination

Principal Investigator: Anne Boettcher -- University of South Alabama, Department of Biology
Member Institutions: Middle Tennessee State University, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

High-Fidelity Modeling of Transport of Oil-Derived Particulates Using an Equilibrium Eulerian Method

Principal Investigator: Babak Shotorban -- University of Alabama in Huntsville, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Member Institutions: University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of South Florida

Hyperspectral Imaging based Estimation of Physical Distribution, Dispersion and Dilution of Contaminants

Principal Investigator: Mohammad Alam -- University of South Alabama, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Member Institutions: University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Identifying Transport Pathways and Quantifying Exchange in Alabama's Coastal Waters: from the Shelf to the Delta

Principal Investigator: Bret Webb -- University of South Alabama, Department of Civil Engineering
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center, University of Florida, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Impact of Hydrocarbon Oil Spill on Coastal Plant Community

Principal Investigator: Safaa Al-Hamdani -- Jacksonville State University, Biology Department
Member Institutions: Jacksonville State University, University of South Florida

Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Releases on the Functional Integrity of Salt Marshes and Seagrass Meadows and Associated Fauna

Principal Investigator: Kenneth Heck -- Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Alabama Programs
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), Florida Institute of Technology, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil/Dispersant Pollution on Ecosystem Functioning: Assessing C and N Dynamics in Salt Marshes along an Exposure Gradient

Principal Investigator: Julia Cherry -- The University of Alabama, Department of Biological Sciences
Member Institutions: The University of Alabama, University of South Florida

Improving Deepwater Horizon Risk Assessment for Large Pelagic Rays: Global Scale Positioning Via Satellite Telemetry

Principal Investigator: Sean Powers -- University of South Alabama, Department of Marine Sciences
Member Institutions: University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

In-Situ WSN to Monitor the Transport and Dispersion of Oil-Derived Substances

Principal Investigator: Salim Alsharif -- University of South Alabama, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Member Institutions: University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Investigating the Fisheries Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster through Socioeconomic Surveys

Principal Investigator: Sean Powers -- University of South Alabama, Department of Marine Sciences
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Investigation of the Three Dimensional Eulerian Flow and Resulting Lagrangian Transport Pathways on the Alabama Shelf pathways on the Alabama shelf

Principal Investigator: Brian Dzwonkowski -- Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Alabama Programs
Member Institutions: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, NOAA, Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of Florida, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Measuring Direct and Indirect Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coastal Low Salinity Fauna

Principal Investigator: Dennis DeVries -- Auburn University, Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida

Measuring Habitat Utilization, Plant Growth Rates and Secondary Productivity in Response to Oiling in a Northern Gulf of Mexico Salt Marsh

Principal Investigator: Lee Stanton -- University of West Alabama, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Member Institutions: University of South Florida, University of West Alabama

Microbial Responses to Hydrocarbon and Dispersant-Lab and Field-based Studies

Principal Investigator: Patricia Sobecky -- The University of Alabama, Department of Biological Sciences
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), The University of Alabama, University of Oklahoma, University of South Florida, University of Tennessee

Modeling of Circulation and Physical Transport for the Alabama Coastal Waters to Assess Transport and Distribution of Oil-Derived Substances

Principal Investigator: Kyeong Park -- Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Alabama Programs
Member Institutions: Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), Louisiana State University, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Nanostructure Surface Plasmon Resonance Enhanced Spectroscopic Sensing for Hydrocarbon Contaminants in the Gulf of Mexico

Principal Investigator: Junpeng Guo -- University of Alabama in Huntsville, Department of Electrical and Comupter Engineering
Member Institutions: University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of South Florida

Oil Spill Impact along the Alabama Coastal Areas

Principal Investigator: Udaysankar Nair -- University of Alabama in Huntsville, Earth System Science Center
Member Institutions: Mississippi State University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of South Florida

Photochemical degradation and ozonation of persistent BP oil compounds in the spill-affected Alabama coast water and sedimentPenetration, Accumulation and Degradation of BP DWH Oil in Florida Sandy Beaches

Principal Investigator: Don Zhao -- Auburn University, Department of Civil Engineering
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida

Physical Model Investigation on the Mixing of Oil-Dispersed Substances in Mobile Bay Navigation Canal

Principal Investigator: Jose Vasconcelos -- Auburn University, Department of Civil Engineering
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida

Recovery: Benthic Meiofauna Survey

Principal Investigator: Frank Romano -- Jacksonville State University, Biology Department
Member Institutions: Auburn University, Jacksonville State University, The University of Alabama, Troy University, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Recovery: Plankton

Principal Investigator: Robert Condon -- Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Alabama Programs
Member Institutions: Auburn University, Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), Florida State University, Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, The University of Alabama, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida, University of Southern Mississippi

Recovery: Sentinel Macrofauna

Principal Investigator: Ruth Carmichael -- Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), University of South Alabama Programs
Member Institutions: Auburn University, Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), The University of Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of New Mexico, University of South Alabama, University of South Florida

Recruitment Patterns of Reef Fishes and the Recent Gulf Oil Spill

Principal Investigator: Stephen Szedlmayer -- Auburn University, Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida

Studies of Microbial Communities Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Spill

Principal Investigator: Omar Oyarzabal -- Alabama State University, Department of Biological Sciences
Member Institutions: Alabama State University, Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of South Florida, University of West Florida

The Assessment of Hydrocarbon and Hydrocarbon Dispersants Impacts on Embryos of Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes Pugio).

Principal Investigator: James Rayburn -- Jacksonville State University, Biology Department
Member Institutions: Jacksonville State University, University of South Florida

The Distribution of Residual Oil in Alabama Coastal Marshes and Its Impact of Marsh Vegetation

Principal Investigator: Chris Anderson -- Auburn University, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida

Visible Light Activated Photocatalysis for the Chemical Evaluation, Photodegradation of Oil-Dispersant Interaction in Deepwater Horizon Oil-Spill

Principal Investigator: Sesha Srinivasan -- Tuskegee University, Department of Physics
Member Institutions: Tuskegee University, University of South Florida

Wave and Surge Simulations for Spilled-Oil Redistribution By Gulf of Mexico Tropical Cyclones

Principal Investigator: Q. Chen -- Louisiana State University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Member Institutions: Louisiana State University, University of South Florida

Wetland and Shoreline Recovery

Principal Investigator: Chris Anderson -- Auburn University, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Member Institutions: Auburn University, University of South Florida