Coral research could aid oil spill recovery

Beachfront in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico

Biology Professor John Fauth’s research on the coral off the coast of Puerto Rico could provide valuable information about the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Fauth is partnering with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists and non-governmental agencies to study the Elkhorn Coral in the Vega Baja area in Puerto Rico.

The algal overgrowth and disease found there could help scientists understand what could happen in Gulf as a result of the BP oil spill. The study techniques used in the Elkhorn Coral will be used in the Gulf. Fauth’s research includes collecting samples to determine the enzymes present and the chemical signature of contaminants found in the coral.

Fauth’s research provides the perfect case study that determines probable stressors for coral and determines their source. Researchers in the Gulf will likely repeat the search and study techniques Fauth and his team use in Puerto Rico.

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