Gulf scientists returning to port to restock & continue mission - - The News for South Mississippi

Gulf scientists returning to port to restock & continue mission

GULF OF MEXICO (WLOX) - A team of scientists from USM and Ole Miss studying the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will return from Sunday to pick up personnel and equipment.  Dr. Vernon Asper, a professor of Marine Sciences at USM has been sharing details of the mission with WLOX News.  Asper also shared photos from an area he described as "Ground Zero" of the spill.

The team is on the Research Vessel Pelican doing some sampling work with the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NUIST).  Friday the Pelican traveled to sampling stations in the Gulf where projections estimated there to be oil on the surface. 

 "We found essentially no oil except for a very faint sheen and perceptible odor at station #22.  As before, none of the sediment samples showed any sign of oil contamination but again, it is probably far too early for the oil to have settled to the depths of these stations (150m to over 2,000m),"  Asper wrote in an email to WLOX News.

"We did encounter a reasonable amount of wildlife, including a few birds, flying fish, Portuguese man-o-war, pyrosomas, and several species of squid, the latter two animals having been attracted to our lights at night.  Conspicuously absent are vessels.  We did not see a single vessel of any kind all day.  Agreed, all fishing is shut down so those vessels are all in port, but we didn't see any supply boats, barges, freighters, nothing at all so it has been a bit eerie out here."

Saturday the scientists planned to collect more core samples north and west of the spill site.

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