In cooperation with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Emergency Management Agency through USDA, the Mississippi State University Extension Service is providing relevant, research-based, information on this page that deals with various disaster preparedness and recovery issues pertaining to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Fact Sheets and Publications
Frequently Asked Questions / Experts
News Features and Newsletters
When Your Income Drops (MSU Extension publications)
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Mississippi State University (MSU), the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES), and Forest and Wildlife Research Center (FWRC) have research facilities and researchers throughout the state. The National Science Foundation (NSF) ranks MSU’s agricultural and forestry research seventh nationally among universities in terms of expenditures, surpassing far larger states. Famous for its applied research, this team of biological experts is well positioned to respond to the impacts of the oil spill with real-world solutions.
Proposed MSU Members for Mississippi Research Consortium (MRC) Oil Spill Response Team:
Dr. Michael Carron
Director, Northern Gulf Institute
Bldg. 1103 Rm. 233
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529
(228) 688 3228 (O), (228) 342 6086 (C)
Dr. Joe Street
Assoc. Director, MSU Extension Service
P.O. Box 9601
Mississippi State, MS 39762
MSU MRC Officers
Dr. David Shaw, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Mississippi State University, 662-325-3570; firstname.lastname@example.org.
MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY:
Northern Gulf Institute
Contact: Mike Carron
email@example.com, (228) 688 3228 (O); (228) 342 6086 (C).
The Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Cooperative Institute of five collaborative academic research institutions led by Mississippi State University partnering with University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, and Dauphin Island Sea Lab (Alabama). NGI has established MOAs with NOAA, Sea Grant, Harte Research Institution (TAMU), and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (representing the governor’s Gulf of Mexico Alliance). NGI can facilitate and simplify the transfer of funds from NOAA and other government agencies directly to MSU scientists and engineers and researchers at our partner universities.
Immediate Response by Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) partners (Mississippi State University, Louisiana State University, Florida State University, University of Southern Mississippi, and Dauphin Island Sea Lab):
These immediate actions and partnerships position NGI to quickly move forward and provide leadership in regional recovery and impact monitoring.
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College of Veterinary Medicine
Contact: Carla Huston, DVM, PhD., Dipl. ACVPM, firstname.lastname@example.org, 662-325-1183 (O).
The College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) serves as a support agency under the state’s emergency management plan Emergency Support Function (ESF-11) for agriculture and natural resources. The CVM has a Disaster Response Team that has been actively involved in the state’s preparedness for this event under the direction of the Mississippi Board of Animal Health (MBAH). Dr. Carla Huston serves as the Veterinary Services Branch Director for the State’s Animal Response Team and is coordinating all veterinary and veterinary technical volunteers.
(1) Representatives from the MBAH have been on-site at the Emergency Operations Center on the coast to assess the needs pertaining to birds, mammals and other wildlife.
a. Team members have completed Incident Command Training and are in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System responder requirements. Personnel are available to serve the state in both clinical as well as emergency management positions.
b. Veterinarians and veterinary students have been organized to respond as needed to the oiled bird and mammal recovery and response. The CVM maintains a cache of supplies and pharmaceuticals that can be utilized in the event of a deployment or response.
a. Veterinarians and veterinary students have unique training in personal protective equipment, hazardous materials, public health and animal care.
b. Volunteers from the CVM have taken additional training modules in hazardous material handling and safety in order to respond as needed to the oiled bird and mammal recovery and response.
c. Faculty experienced population medicine and ecology are available to assist in both short-term and long-term studies of the effects of hazardous materials in birds and mammals. This includes epidemiologists, diagnosticians/clinicians, pathologists, and others.
3) Monitoring and Recovery.
a. Researchers at CVM are able to assist in environmental monitoring and site characterization.
b. The immune system is often a sensitive indicator of environmental stress, and MSU CVM scientists (Dr. Lora Petri-Hanson, Dr. Larry Hanson, Dr. Mark Lawrence, and Dr. Attila Karsi) have substantial experience in fish immunology and infectious diseases. Similar expertise is also available from CVM faculty at the Thad Cochran Center for Warmwater Aquaculture in Stoneville, MS (Dr. Lester Khoo, Dr. Pat Gaunt, and Dr. Mike Mauel). If samples can be provided, assessment of immunological and infectious disease processes could be provided to evaluate short and long term effects. Similar expertise is available with regard to immunological and parasitological-characterization of birds (Dr. Todd Pharr and Dr. Linda Pote). Similar capabilities also exist for any mammals that might be exposed (Dr. Stephen Pruett). We can also evaluate molecular changes using next generation sequencing or proteomics. Dr. Shane Burgess, who directs the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute here, has expertise and equipment for both of these types of analysis. We also have a unique capability to do detailed pathological analysis to identify changes in particular organ systems, in feather structure, or other changes mediated by exposure to petroleum. Pathologists at CVM and the Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Labs in Stoneville and Pearl can perform necropsy to assess cause of death as well as monitor cellular changes over time with exposure. This may be particularly important because exposure to oil may not directly cause mortality, but might increase susceptibility to particular infections. This cannot be effectively determined except by a complete necropsy. Several board-certified Veterinary Pathologists are available for such studies.
c. Dr. Henry Wan is interested in evaluating microbial populations and their changes in response to this spill. In addition to his training in microbiology, he is a computational biologist and can develop mathematical models to describe and ultimately predict effects of contamination on microbial populations.
4) Education and Outreach.
a. Faculty members, including wildlife specialists and toxicologists, are prepared to serve as subject matter experts for the official federal responding agencies.
b. Educational materials have been distributed to communities, including veterinary clinics, on the rescue, treatment, and recovery of oiled animals.
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Contact: Joe Street, email@example.com, 662-325-0676
As a unit of MSU’s Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine, the MSU Extension Service is prepared to assist disaster responders and communities impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Coastal Research Extension Center
Contact: Dr. Patricia Knight, Tricia@ra.msstate.edu, 228-388-4710.
Three Coastal Research and Extension Center Scientists have been directly involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Those employees are: Ben Posadas, Dave Burrage, and Mark Woodrey.
Dr. Ben Posadas - Contact: (228) 388-1375, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Dave Burrage - Contact: (228) 546-1028, email@example.com
Dr. Mark Woodrey - Contact: (228) 546-1012, firstname.lastname@example.org
Coastal Research and Extension Center Capabilities:
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Social Science Research Center
Contact: Art Cosby, email@example.com, 662-325-8587.
The SSRC has a long history of researching human and community aspects of disasters, including the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill (over 20 years of research), Hurricane Katrina, and the San Diego County Wildfires of 2007.
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College of Engineering
Contact: Lori Bruce, firstname.lastname@example.org, 662-325-9156
The MSU Bagley College of Engineering’s response consists of five major elements which include the following:
1) Coastal monitoring and mapping.
Including remote sensing via aircraft and spacecraft, with particular expertise in mapping and characterization of vegetation impacts over time using radar, multispectral, and hyperspectral imaging combined with advanced signal/image processing, pattern recognition, and high performance computing. MSU has numerous faculty in areas of civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, agriculture and bioengineering, and geosciences with expertise in these areas.
2) Gas hydrates prevention and management.
Including biochemical reactions and diffusion of gas hydrates, gas hydrate stability – Note: Gas hydrates have been cited as a significant factor in frustrating BP's latest efforts to control the oil well currently losing oil into the Gulf (for example, see http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-05-11-oil-spill-bp_N.htm and http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,592582,00.html). MSU’s Swalm School of Chemical Engineering has multiple faculty members with expertise in gas hydrates. For example, these faculty have experience with storage/transportation of natural gas in gas hydrates, including the design and construction of the pertinent equipment. Dr. Rudy Rogers has designed experimental apparatus, that is in place, to study gas hydrate formation on the Gulf of Mexico seafloor in Mississippi Canyon (about 8 1/2 miles from the blowout well).
3) Hazardous waste remediation.
MSU’s Swalm School of Chemical Engineering has faculty who are certified emergency response responders as well as HASWOPER certified, with expertise in hazardous waste remediation, as well as faculty with years of experience in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working in the areas of bioremediation. Likewise, MSU’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering have several faculty with expertise in Mississippi Gulf Coast beach protection and preservation, with particular emphasis on establishing beach and emergent vegetation in that environment and a current project on island preservation with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and collaborators in the communities and local governments between Biloxi and Pass Christian. In the past few years, the College of Engineering’s Institute for Clean Energy Technology (ICET) has been collaborating with Kengro (a private company in Mississippi) and Department of Forest Products Lab of MSU in applying kenaf materials for clean up organic contaminants, including petroleum products, PCBs and PAHs and inorganic contaminants such as heavy metals.
4) Environmental monitoring and sampling for soil, water and air.
For example, for water analysis, ICET’s analytical laboratories are equipped with modern instrumentation employed for the analysis of brines and freshwater aquifer samples. ICET personnel have deep expertise in this area and can participate in the analysis of samples, where all measurements are performed according to U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods and existing quality assurance program plans (QAPP’s) will be adopted for any associated work. ICET has the capability to conduct quick-turn around ground-truth studies in controlled environment to investigate the impact of oil on selected vegetation species (such as seagrasses and marsh grasses). The outcome will contribute to calibration and interpretation of remotely sensed satellite/aerial data.
5) Estimation and prediction of natural gas and oil flow
Via expertise in fluid flows, transport theory, gas-oil-hydrate interactions, watershed modeling, computational fluid dynamics, advanced scientific visualization, and high performance computing. MSU has numerous faculty in civil engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and geosciences with expertise in these areas.
MSU has extensive collaborations with federal, state, local and private agencies, institutions, and foundations for research, educational, and service related projects focused on the northern Gulf of Mexico, including the inter-relationships between gulf waters, coastal land, and the atmosphere. These long-standing collaborative relationships include but are not limited to the following: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Navy, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA), and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
MSU is also collaborating with USM and Ole Miss in the efforts to monitor the environmental impact at the spill site. A significant portion of these collaborations are through Northern Gulf Institute, a NOAA funded cooperative institute. The Northern Gulf Institute is led by MSU and also includes the following gulf coast institutions (University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Florida State University). The Northern Gulf Institute conducts extensive research related to land-ocean-atmosphere interactions, as well as community outreach related to the northern Gulf of Mexico.
There are a variety of critical needs. While this list is still being compiled, here is a preliminary description:
Staff and personnel support: staff and personnel have necessarily been diverted from their normal work activities to address the needs of this catastrophic event including training, sampling and support operations. This represents a loss of resources and time. Many of the faculty and researchers are funded entirely on external grants and contracts. Their time allocated to characterizing the impacts of the event will need to be accounted for along with supplies and any necessary travel.
Equipment needs: specialized equipment is needed for a variety of activities including instrumentation to monitor oil in the water and sampling gear to collect various types of samples (more details can be provided by individual team members)
Vessel operations support: much of the sampling involves coastal boats and ships and these are being operated at a cost to the institution.
Materials and supplies: miscellaneous materials and supplies are needed to service the sampling operations.
Analytical services: analyses of oil samples collected in various field conditions will be required at some cost.
Other Capabilities/Expertise at MSU:
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