News Release

UM Rosenstiel school scientists awarded over $6 million to study Gulf of Mexico

Researchers receive three years of funding to study the effects of oil on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and public health

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science

Deepwater Horizon Offshore Drilling Unit

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Credit: US Coast Guard

MIAMI - The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Research Board awarded over $6 million to University of Miami UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers to study the effects of oil on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and public health. A total of nearly $38 million and 22 research proposals are being funded under the GoMRI program.

The UM Rosenstiel School awardees include:

  • Lynn 'Nick' Shay, UM professor of ocean sciences, was awarded $2,828,784 for a three-year study, titled 'Three-Dimensional Gulf Circulation and Biogeochemical Processes Unveiled by State of the Art Profiling Float Technology and Data Assimilative Ocean Models.' Partner institutions include: North Carolina State University, Dalhousie University, and Teledyne Webb Research.

  • Villy Kourafalou, UM research professor of ocean sciences, was awarded $2,220,531 for a three-year study, titled 'Influence of River Induced Fronts on Hydrocarbon Transport.' Partner institutions include: University of South Florida, Water Mapping LLC, and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

  • William Drennan, UM professor of ocean sciences, was awarded $992,274 for a three-year study, titled 'Investigation of Oil Spill Transport in Coupled Wind-Wave Current Environment Using Simulation and Laboratory Studies.' Partner institution: University of Minnesota.

The researchers submitted research proposals in response to GoMRI's fifth request for proposals, part of a program designed to support research by individual investigators or by collaborative teams during 2016-2018. All UM-funded research projects will begin in January 2016.

"The Research Board was impressed with the quality of the 288 applications received," said Dr. Rita Colwell, chairperson of the GoMRI Research Board. "As is our practice, all proposals underwent a rigorous merit review process like that used by the National Science Foundation. This process has served us well, as demonstrated by the impressive array of research findings published in scientific journals by those researchers GoMRI has already funded."


The GoMRI is an independent, 10-year research program established with a $500 million commitment from BP following the Deepwater Horizon incident. Twenty experts comprise a Research Board responsible for designing research programs, making funding decisions, and providing research and budget oversight.

About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit:

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