New $5M lab space opens at USM's Gulf Coast Research Lab - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New $5M lab space opens at USM's Gulf Coast Research Lab

USM leaders cut the ribbon Friday morning for the new Toxicology Building located at the Gulf Coast Research Lab's Cedar Point campus in Ocean Springs. (Photo source: WLOX) USM leaders cut the ribbon Friday morning for the new Toxicology Building located at the Gulf Coast Research Lab's Cedar Point campus in Ocean Springs. (Photo source: WLOX)
One section of the lab allows scientists to produce their own sea water with a large tank system that can deliver specific salinities needed for various experiments. (Photo source: WLOX) One section of the lab allows scientists to produce their own sea water with a large tank system that can deliver specific salinities needed for various experiments. (Photo source: WLOX)
The nearly $5 million, 11,000-square-foot project gives GCRC one of the top tier research facilities of this kind in the country. (Photo source: WLOX) The nearly $5 million, 11,000-square-foot project gives GCRC one of the top tier research facilities of this kind in the country. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Dodging the raindrops, USM leaders cut the ribbon Friday morning for the new Toxicology Building located at the Gulf Coast Research Lab's Cedar Point campus in Ocean Springs. 

The nearly $5 million, 11,000-square-foot project gives GCRC one of the top tier research facilities of this kind in the country. 

Dr. Joe Griffitt is the research scientist leading the team at the new lab space. He said this gives scientists incredible opportunities for controlled environment experiments regarding problems or conditions impacting the Gulf of Mexico. 

For example, research is already underway here to determine the impact of the oil spill on area oyster reefs. 

“There aren't, in all honesty, six other universities in the country that have the capability that this one has. And most importantly, the capabilities that this building has, are ones that are designed from the ground up, to answer questions of relevance to the Gulf Coast,” said Dr. Griffitt.

Dr. Griffitt also mentioned this week's news about the large "dead zone" as another area this lab is equipped to study. It produces its own sea water with a large tank system that can deliver specific salinities needed for various experiments.

“And because we have zero and 30, in other words, freshwater and full saltwater, we can combine those to provide any salinity we want to any point in the building,” said Dr. Griffitt.

There is also a filtering system that removes all toxins from the water used in research before that water is returned to the environment.

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