- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) - Linked by the Gulf of Mexico, scientists in Mississippi and Cuba are fostering a relationship and sharing research.

Six scientists from the University of Southern Mississippi and its Gulf Coast Research Laboratory traveled last month to the Cuban Center for Coastal Ecosystems Research, which is on an island on the northern part of the country, about an eight-hour drive from Havana, The Sun Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2gVLVkB).

Each scientist presented a scientific research paper, and both groups shared research they hoped will benefit both countries. The topics included oyster restoration as well as a type of brown algae that scientists said has been recently seen in record levels in the Caribbean.

Last year, USM hosted four Cuban colleagues, including the center’s director, after inviting them to visit South Mississippi for a week.

The Mississippi scientists said they can work with the Cuban scientists to share information about reacting to and recovering from hurricanes and oil spills, just as their communities share aquatic species. Billfish, tuna, large dolphins and tarpon swim between Cuba and the U.S.

During the group’s recent visit, Harriet Perry, senior research scientist and professor emeritus, spoke to the Cubans about the aquaculture of blue crabs.

“They have the same blue crab that we have but they don’t eat them,” she said, adding that it could become a future industry for Cuba.

Perry said she stood on the beach in Cuba and looked out over the Straits of Florida to the United States. Soon after she returned from Cuba, she went to Key West, Florida, and looked toward Cuba. It’s a relatively short distance, she said, which could be connected by science.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com


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