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Assessing Impacts of Oil Exposure to Deep Sea Ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico Using Sharks and Scavengers As Integrative Models

Implementing Organization

Florida International University


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)

Funding Program

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative GoMRI Grant Program


Project Category


Project Actions

Environmental Research

Targeted Resources

Human and/or Institutional Capacity

Project Description

The deep sea ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico are likely to be negatively impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Spill due to the volume of oil released and the unprecedented use of dispersants at the surface and deep underwater. Because of the difficulty in accessing these ecosystems, assessing the impacts of the spill is difficult. However, by assessing the physiology, community structure, and trophic dynamics of a group of sentinel species it will be possible to establish ecosystem baselines and assess exposure to oil and its impacts.


Michael Heithaus
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