(WKRG) — 2020 marks 10 years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Last week, more than a thousand scientists from around the globe gathered in Tampa, Fla., for the eighth annual Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, a community of scientific discovery, collaborations and partnerships funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.
We spoke with several research board members from GoMRI to see how they felt about what they had accomplished over the last 10 years.
“Firstly, I am really proud of the basic research. We funded maxillary research that we were allocated 500 million and 90% of it went straight to research. So that’s one. Second, I’m really proud of the people. You know, 600 PhDs, 400 Post-Docs, 4,000 people were involved in this program, so it’s really magnificent what was accomplished,” Dr. Rita Colwell said.
“The circumstances for why this came about were very sad, an accident happened. And I must commend BP and the Gulf States, coming together and realizing that BP wanted to do something for science, and they left us alone and the states left us alone. We were truly an independent group, and it’s hard to find that anymore,” Dr. David Halpern said.
“The community of young people that we’ve built as a result of this program. So I can walk around this conference and I see all these enthusiastic, intelligent, well-informed, dedicated young people really excited about their science, talking to one another, interacting and thinking of new things to do, some of which I don’t even understand and that is a great investment for the future and I think that is probably the longest lasting impact that we will have had,” Dr. John Shepherd said.
“Whereas what GoMRI did in 10 years would have taken 20 and 30 years at the normal pace of science so we really pushed the envelope forward and I am most proud of that, so GoMRI will be in the text books for many years to come,” Dr. David Halpern said.
The Chief Scientific Officer of GoMRI and Fairhope native Charles “Chuck” Wilson was also honored with the Wes Tunnel Lifetime Recognition Award for Gulf Science and Conservation.