- Associated Press - Saturday, September 30, 2017

COCODRIE, La. (AP) - Researchers headed by a Louisiana consortium have received nearly $5 million to keep studying the effects of the 2010 oil spill on southeastern Louisiana marsh ecosystems.

The state board of Regents said in a news release Friday that the $4.8 million grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative will keep the studies going for another two years.

Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and Louisiana State University professor Nancy Rabalais coordinate research by investigators from LUMCON, Louisiana State University and around the United States.

As the Coastal Waters Consortium, those investigators have worked together for seven years. They expect to use the new grant to complete some of their experiments and synthesize the impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill on coastal communities.

Among things they’re looking at are possible linkages between oil contaminants and shoreline erosion, changes to coastal vegetation, differences in greenhouse gas emissions from coastal ecosystems, and changes in carbon flows through wetland food webs.

They’re also working to create computer models of how post-spill oil moved through localized sections of the Gulf Coast. They are also testing the impacts of oil on Gulf Coast marshes using controlled experiments at a LUMCON facility.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative was created to administer up to $500 million that BP PLC committed after the Deepwater Horizon spill for 10 years of studies to investigate its impacts on the Gulf of Mexico and coastal states. That includes studies of both effects on the environment and on public health.

BP isn’t part of decisions about which projects are best.

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