GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Academy Award winning actor and native Mississippian, Morgan Freeman will help unveil new research from the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday in Gulfport. Freeman is an advocate of Oceana, an international organization focused on ocean conservation.
In early August, Oceana launched a two-month research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico to assess the long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The expedition is taking place aboard the Oceana Latitude, a 170-foot vessel capable of sailing in both shallow and deep waters, and adapted to serve as a diving platform.
Tuesday, the Latitude will dock in Gulfport where Oceana and its corporate partner Nautica will join Freeman, actor Ted Danson and others to announce the findings from the first leg of its two-month research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico and discuss its plans for the remainder of the expedition.
Nautica will also announce its $100,000 donation to Oceana to supports its upcoming deepwater exploration efforts near the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Oceana will help map the subsurface oil plume and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of reaching depths of more than 3,200 feet and filming in high-definition to explore seafloor habitat areas that may have been harmed by underwater oil.
Oceana will report on its efforts to document vulnerable habitats from the Florida Keys to Panama City at risk from future oil spills as well as the results of its project to tag whale sharks, a species at risk from the Gulf oil disaster.
The expedition team, led by Oceana's Chief Scientist Mike Hirshfield and Oceana's vice president for Europe, Xavier Pastor, will also include research by Dr. Jeff Short, Oceana's Pacific science director and one of the world's leading experts on Exxon Valdez and the effects of oil spills.
The team has been testing for underwater oil and studying important seafloor habitats, as well as the migratory marine life affected by the spill, including endangered sea turtles and the rare whale shark.