Nicholls professor receives grant to study oil spill effects

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A research team led by a Nicholls State University professor received a grant for more than $530,000 this week to study the biological impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative distributed $50 million across 31 projects studying the effects of oil on the Gulf’s ecosystem.

Of the $50 million, $35 million was given to eight large research groups and the remaining $15 million was given to 23 small teams – awarded to universities around the country.


Nicholls assistant professor of biology, Dr. Sean Graham, is the lead researcher of one of the small-team grants, totaling $533,491. With it, he and his group will study the long-term wetland impacts, recovery and resilience from the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Dr. Graham leads a team which includes researchers from around the country.

“This research will synthesize data across multiple ecosystem components to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that control the long-term sustainability of coastal wetlands impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Dr. Graham said. “Results from this research will inform current and future response, remediation and restoration decisions for oiled coastal wetlands by providing integrated information on the pace of oil-spill recovery. Nicholls remains a national leader in research that impacts the livelihoods of so many in the Bayou Region it serves.”


The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative is a 10-year independent research program. It was formed to study the effect and the potential associated impact of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. 

Dr. Sean Graham