Gulf Coast Research Laboratory studying blue crabs for oil spill damage assessment

Harriet Perry holds a blue crab loaded with eggs on Monday at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs. Perry and other GCRL scientists are conducting research into the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill's impact on blue crab. (Harlan Kirgan/Press-Register)

Harriet Perry holds a blue crab loaded with eggs on Monday at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs. Perry and other GCRL scientists are conducting research into the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill's impact on blue crab. (Harlan Kirgan/Press-Register)

Originally published on GulfLive.com

By Harlan Kirgan, Mississippi Press

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi — Two months after the April 2010Deepwater Horizon oil spill began in the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory scientist Harriet Perry released a photo of blue crab megalopa with oil droplets under its shell.

It was a significant discovery of oil entering the gulf’s food chain since larval crabs are a favorite snack of various creatures from fish to birds.

Perry, who was then director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, is retired now, but she is leading a new study of blue crabs post oil spill.

On Monday, Perry and other scientists — including Mike Beiser, scientific lead on the Deepwater Horizon incident for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality — explained the study under way on blue crabs.

The study involves taking adult samples primarily on Horn Island in areas impacted by the oil and larval samples near the Interstate 110 bridge and West Belle Fontaine Beach.

“This is a study that is unique to Mississippi,” Beiser said. “We came up with the idea. We had the people. We worked through the study plan.”

Continue reading on GulfLive.com



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