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Internships Awarded through Program Established in Memory of Deepwater Horizon Victims

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Tuesday, 12/14/2021 – 16:04 PM | Written by: Margaret Ann MacLeod

Four undergraduate students from across the Southeast region studied several marine science-focused issues this summer with the support of an internship program created in memory of those who lost their lives in Horizon in deep water Oil leak.

the Horizon in deep water The Memorial Undergraduate Internship Program was created by the Mississippi Restoration Act-Based Center of Excellence (MBRACE) to honor individuals who died in the 2010 Blast. The competitive program provides funding for undergraduate interns to conduct research projects related to ongoing MBRACE-funded projects that address Research gaps in water quality, coral reefs and shellfish and their sustainability. MBRACE is a consortium of four research universities in Mississippi: The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) serves as the flagship institution, and includes Jackson State University (JSU), Mississippi State University (MSU), and the University of Mississippi (UM).

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“We are proud to offer an internship that honors those who have died in Horizon in deep water “The oil spill supports the next generation of marine scientists,” said Dr. Kelly Darnell, director of MBRACE and associate research professor at USM. “In this inaugural year of the internship program, an excellent cohort of undergraduate interns conducted research in support of MBRACE’s mission to understand the stresses and dynamics of our coastal ecosystems and support the management of Mississippi’s shellfish resources. We look forward to continuing to provide internship opportunities through this program in the coming years.”

MBRACE’s mission is to seek a comprehensive, science- and technology-based understanding of chronic and acute pressures, both human and natural, on the dynamic and productive waters and ecosystems of the northern Gulf of Mexico, and to facilitate the sustainable use of atmospheric pressure. Important Gulf Resources.

Below is information about each student and a description of their project.


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This project was paid for with federal funding from the US Department of the Treasury, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, and the Mississippi RESTORE Act Center of Excellence under the Resource and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourism Opportunity, and Renewable Economies of the Gulf Coast States. 2012 Act (Restitution Act). The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Treasury, the Mississippi Environmental Quality Department, or the ACT Restore Center of Excellence in Mississippi.

MBRACE project: Basic search software

student: Joe Bell, old

The school: USM (Ocean Engineering)

Advisor: Doctor. Kemal Jambazoglu (USM)

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hometown: Waveland, Miss

Project Description:

In-situ water quality monitoring measurements, conducted by the USM College of Oceanography and Engineering, are used to verify the results of the Combined Ocean-Atmosphere, Wave and Sediment Modeling System (COAWST) results for spatio-temporal variability of water quality as affected by the opening and closing of Bonnet Carré Spillway (BCS) in 2019 New models were also developed to improve the accuracy of the model’s predictions.

general effect:

BCS vents are known to alter and reduce oceanic variables, such as salinity and water temperature, present in the Mississippi Sound and Bight, due to the fresh water from the Mississippi River. With well-calibrated and reliable modeling applications, improved strategies can be developed with respect to water discharges. This could better mitigate harmful side effects on the marine ecosystem and eventually lead to more sustainable practices.

Noticeable: Bell provided a summary of the 2021 Geophysical Union meeting drawn from his research during his internship.

John Preston LylesMBRACE project: Basic search software

student: John Preston Lyles

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The school: University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (Earth Sciences)

Advisor: Doctor. Padmanava Dash (MSU)

hometown: Fort Smith, Ar

Project Description:

The main objective of this project is to assess the potential risks of harmful algal blooms to oysters and human health in the western Mississippi Sound. This objective will be achieved through a set of integrated tasks: (i) the collection of water samples near Henderson Point and Pass Christian Oyster Reefs, (ii) laboratory analysis of water samples to determine the phytoplankton community structure, algal toxins, chlorophyll a, phycocyanin, and nutrients, (3) Correlations of the aggregated data set (newly collected dataset and previous data from 2015 and 2019) with river drainage, (4) document the abundance of HABs in the Western Mississippi Sound, assessing risks from harmful algal blooms for oysters and possibly for organisms with a higher trophic level, Including humans. Tasks 1 and 2 completed this summer, Liles completed this work during the summer and fall of 2021 and plans to present this work at conferences and then publish this work in a peer-reviewed journal.

general effect:

Almost every coastal country in the world is affected by harmful algal blooms (HABs) that have resulted in significant fish mortality, loss of sales revenue primarily from fisheries and tourism, loss of commercially valuable and culturally vital shellfish resources, disease, and death in populations of protected marine species. and threats to human health. Oyster reef areas as well as the size and value of commercial oyster crops in Mississippi waters have declined sharply in recent years, which has been attributed to a range of environmental stressors including poor water quality. in a In 2019, the Mississippi sound was affected by an unprecedented boom of cyanobacteria that closed commercial shellfish fisheries, killed fish, killed birds, and closed beaches. In December 2015, a massive red tide caused a similar havoc in the Mississippi’s sound. Accordingly, the main objective of this project is to assess the potential risks of harmful algal blooms to oysters and human health in the western Mississippi Sound.

Jesse KellonMBRACE project: Competitive Research Program: Effects of Water Quality on Oyster Development to Inform Oyster Reef Recovery and Sustainability on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

student: Jaycie Keylon, P1 Pharmacy (1st professional year)

The school: a

Advisor: Dr. Deborah Guchfield (UM)

hometown: Harrison, Arkansas

Project Description:

This project, which is also a Keylon Honors thesis project, assesses how various environmental stressors affect disease susceptibility and stress responses in oysters. This necessitated analysis of the expression of genetic biomarkers related to the presence or absence of disease or stress.

general effect:

Oyster reefs provide essential estuarine ecosystem services, including coastal stabilization, increased biodiversity, improved water quality, and economic value to society. Unfavorable environmental conditions, such as decreased salinity, increased seawater temperature, hypoxia, or ocean acidification may affect the susceptibility of oysters to disease. By understanding how these stressors interact, we can do our part in trying to reduce environmental impacts on oysters and help maintain these important marine ecosystems.

Talon WashingtonMBRACE project: Competitive Research Program: Rare Earth Element Screening in the Mississippi Sound

student: Talon Washington, Senior

The school: University of New Orleans (Biology)

Advisor: Doctor. Alan Schiller (USM)

hometown: New Orleans, Los Angeles

Project Description:

This project, which examines rare earth elements in Mississippi Sound, is part of a larger project that includes evidence examination for the input and impact of underwater groundwater discharge (SGD) in Mississippi Sound. SGD is important because it is a hidden pathway of material inputs into coastal systems. These inputs include different chemical species that can affect the coastal ecosystem such as nutrients, minerals and oxygen-depleting substances. Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of heavy elements that are not actually “rare” and have numerous applications in modern society as magnets, catalysts, and medical imaging. Rare earth entities can also be used to study various ocean processes. Indeed, groundwater is often enriched in REE, so these elements can be used as SGD input extractors into the coastal system. During her summer internship, Washington learned how to collect SGD samples for rare earth element analysis. She then analyzed a set of previously collected samples and put together a short presentation describing what she found. It appears that the larger project will be able to use its data for further efforts to describe SGD input into the sound of the Mississippi and the impact of the SGD on critical issues such as shellfish survival and oxygen depletion.

general effect: This will help describe and identify the SGD input in the Mississippi sound.

** MBRACE . projectCompetitive Research Program: Optical Observation of Oyster Larvae (O3L)

Advisor: Dr. Xiaodong Zhang (USM)

** This project is hiring an undergraduate research intern during the academic year 2021-22.

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