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Coastal Marine Institute at LSU celebrates 20 years

Coastal Marine Institute at LSU celebrates 20 years

April 30, 2012

A symposium was held at Louisiana State University on April 23 to celebrate the 20 years that LSU has led the effort to meld oil and gas industry environmental studies with the academic community. The program is sponsored by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), formerly known as the Minerals Management Service. CMI holds an annual peer-reviewed competition for funds for environmental studies conducted at academic institutions that address BOEM’s pressing environmental information needs. The role of LUMCON, under the direction of first Executive Director Dr. Donald Boesch, was instrumental in the formation of CMI’s predecessor the University Research Initiative directed by LUMCON. Initially the URI program did not require matching funds, but the CMI program, since its inception, has required one-to-one matching from the academic community.
The Symposium highlighted both BOEM- and CMI-supported research over the last decades. Highlights were the history of CMI, beginning with URI, from Dr. Robert Carney, LSU, and the Geology of the Gulf of Mexico Continental Slope from Dr. Harry Roberts, LSU Boyd Professor Emeritus, LSU Coastal Studies Institute. Dr. Joachim Singelmann, Chair and Professor of Public Policy, Dept. of Demography, University of Texas at San Antonio, returned to discuss the Sociology Studies conducted under CMI.

A final panel discussion included an opening presentation by U.S. Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D., and participants, Dr. Rodney Cluck, Division of Environmental Sciences Chief, BOEM; Nancy Rabalais, Executive Director and Professor, LUMCON; and RobertTwilley, Vice President for Research, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and former CMI Director.

LUMCON scientists Dr. Nancy Rabalais and Dr. Paul Sammarco have benefitted from both BOEM and CMI funding over the years. Dr. Rabalais’ research focused on produced waters (an oil and gas production contaminant effluent) fate and effects and paleoindicators of historic change on the Louisiana continental shelf. Dr. Sammarco’ research has focused on aspects of offshore platforms as artificial reefs, sites for coral recruitment, and hard surfaces that influence coral dynamics and invasive species.