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International SeaKeepers Society assists in Gulf research

Data collected from these drifter design experiments and last September's research are in preparation for a large-scale project.

The International SeaKeepers Society and the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment teamed up for an expedition contributing to the consortium’s drifter design experiments.

Data collected from these drifter design experiments and last September's research are in preparation for a large-scale project to study currents and water movement in the Gulf of Mexico for use in oil spill mitigation planned to start in early 2016.

This will be the largest project of its kind ever attempted. The International SeaKeepers Society plans to assist the consortium with vessels in the Gulf of Mexico in 2016 and is seeking additional vessels that can donate their time to assist the project.

Touri J. White, project director of Integrated Marine Program and Computer Training from the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, and Sami Kattan, aerial photographer and video producer, also attended.

The expedition involved three days of research off Miami aboard Fleet Miami's 54-foot Grand Banks Eastbay M/Y Shredder.

This expedition is the second of its kind on M/Y Shredder and it involved testing various types of consortium drifters and their relative motion responding to wind, waves and surface currents. The drifters, including the original type deployed at the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico, varied in size, shape, and material — some even biodegradable.

The consortium is a team of research scientists and staff funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative and dedicated to understanding the oceanic and atmospheric processes that influence the dispersal of marine contaminants associated with oil spill-related incidents.

Recent oil-spill events have already made evident the importance of understanding these processes for emergency management purposes in minimizing damage to the environment, the economy and to human health.

The consortium scientists involved in this expedition are based at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science and Florida State University.

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