USM researchers focus on seafood safety, oil lurking in Gulf - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

USM researchers focus on seafood safety, oil lurking in Gulf

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The numerous bottles inside the freezer contain water and organisms that were collected from the Gulf of Mexico. USM researchers want to know if the fish, shrimp and oyster samples have been exposed to molecules found in crude oil called Polycyclic Aromatic HydroCarbons, or PAH.

"What we do is we look at the PAH because they're toxic. They have a toxic effect on the organism," said Dr. Scott Milroy, USM Assistant Professor of Marine Science.

The amount of PAH will help Dr. Milroy answer a nagging question: Is our seafood safe to eat?

"The PAH levels were much higher than background concentrations," said Milroy. "They were not high enough to trigger any kind of seafood safety closures or fisheries closures."

Dr. Milroy and other researchers at USM immediately started gathering data after the rig explosion.  At the Marine Science lab at Stennis, technicians are using six different instruments and sensors to detect changes in the Mississippi Sound, like the oxygen level, temperature, and organisms at the bottom of the food chain.

"We went out during the spill and we're currently going out now. We do every month, sampling out," said Kevin Martin, a USM Hydrographic Technician. "We have a lot of data on what's going on out in the water as far as water quality and what some of the small organisms are doing."

Other USM researchers are conducting their own tests and experiments in relation to the oil spill. For instance, geologists are using a lunar-looking device to collect sediments to find out if oil has settled to the bottom of the Gulf floor. And chemists are searching for signs of trace metals and oil droplets in the water.

The scientists say it's too early to tell how the disaster has affected sea life, their habitats, and their population.

"Whether they're capable of reproducing at normal levels to replenish what we capture through normal fisheries, or whether it makes them more susceptible to diseases.  There are a lot of question marks," said Milroy.

Those are questions that could take years or even decades to answer. Southern Miss has received 29 grants from various sources, including BP, totaling close to $6 million. Three other Mississippi universities have also received BP funding for research.  

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Gulfport's Matt Luke fulfills a dream to become Ole Miss Head Football Coach

    Gulfport's Matt Luke fulfills a dream to become Ole Miss Head Football Coach

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 12:10 AM EDT2017-07-25 04:10:04 GMT

    The Luke family has been committed to Ole Miss for years.  On Monday Matt Luke met the media in Oxford four days after taking over the head coaching reins from Hugh Freeze.

    More >>

    The Luke family has been committed to Ole Miss for years.  On Monday Matt Luke met the media in Oxford four days after taking over the head coaching reins from Hugh Freeze.

    More >>
  • Matt Luke introduced as Ole Miss interim head coach

    Matt Luke introduced as Ole Miss interim head coach

    Monday, July 24 2017 11:58 PM EDT2017-07-25 03:58:50 GMT
    WLBTWLBT

    14 years as part of the Ole Miss football program as a coach or player has prepared Matt Luke for this opportunity. Admittedly it doesn't come under the circumstances he might've envisioned. But with a Rebel bloodline that runs 3 generations deep, the position fulfills a lifelong dream. "I can truly tell y'all today that this is my dream job," Luke said Monday at his first press conference as Ole Miss interim head coach. "It's a job that I've been preparing my whole li...

    More >>

    14 years as part of the Ole Miss football program as a coach or player has prepared Matt Luke for this opportunity. Admittedly it doesn't come under the circumstances he might've envisioned. But with a Rebel bloodline that runs 3 generations deep, the position fulfills a lifelong dream. "I can truly tell y'all today that this is my dream job," Luke said Monday at his first press conference as Ole Miss interim head coach. "It's a job that I've been preparing my whole li...

    More >>
  • Rain puts Pascagoula's new football turf on the clock

    Rain puts Pascagoula's new football turf on the clock

    Monday, July 24 2017 11:09 PM EDT2017-07-25 03:09:56 GMT
    Rain has slowed down construction crews as they attempt to put a new field turf at War Memorial Stadium (Photo Source: WLOX News Now)Rain has slowed down construction crews as they attempt to put a new field turf at War Memorial Stadium (Photo Source: WLOX News Now)

    The Pascagoula Panthers open the 2017 football season on the road. In fact, their first three games are road contests. That scheduling quirk may give field turf crews just enough time to get War Memorial Stadium ready for the September 8 home opener. The wet weather in South Mississippi is placing quite the burden on construction workers as they attempt to complete stadium renovations. The project was suppose to be finished before the beginning of Pascagoula's football season.

    More >>

    The Pascagoula Panthers open the 2017 football season on the road. In fact, their first three games are road contests. That scheduling quirk may give field turf crews just enough time to get War Memorial Stadium ready for the September 8 home opener. The wet weather in South Mississippi is placing quite the burden on construction workers as they attempt to complete stadium renovations. The project was suppose to be finished before the beginning of Pascagoula's football season.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly