Nicholls professor receives grant to study oil spill effects

Sean Graham Headshot 2016
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)
9/12/16

THIBODAUX, La. — A research team led by a Nicholls State University professor received more than $530,000 to study the lasting biological impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative distributed $50 million across 31 projects studying the effects of oil on the Gulf’s ecosystem. Of the $50 million, $35 million was awarded to eight large research groups, while the remaining $15 million was given to 23 small team awards, including proposals from Brown University, Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgia Tech University.

Dr. Sean Graham, assistant professor of biology, is the lead researcher of a team that received $533,491 in a small team award to study the long-term wetland impacts, recovery and resilience from the largest oil spill in U.S. history.  Dr. Graham will lead a team of researchers from institutions across the U.S., including Louisiana State University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Atkins North America and Research Planning, Inc.

“This research will synthesize data across multiple ecosystem components to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that control the long-term sustainability of coastal wetlands impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Dr. Graham said. “Results from this research will inform current and future response, remediation and restoration decisions for oiled coastal wetlands by providing integrated information on the pace of oil-spill recovery. Nicholls remains a national leader in research that impacts the livelihoods of so many in the Bayou Region it serves.”

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies.