UT Marine Science Institute Receives $5.6 Million Grant

A comprehensive study of the Chukchi Sea’s ecosystem led by the UT Marine Science Institute’s Ken Dunton has received a $5.6 million grant to determine the best ways to obtain oil and gas from the area without disturbing the wildlife.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is supplying the funding for the five-year project, which will examine aspects such as the ice conditions and ocean circulation surrounding the Hanna Shoal ecosystem in the Chuckchi Sea, located off the northwest coast of Alaska.

The oil industry is particularly interested in drilling for oil and gas in the area.

“[The] industry is ready to begin exploratory drilling, but they want as much information as possible to avoid having any obvious or measureable impacts on the local ecosystem,” Dunton said in a press release.

Dunton, a marine science professor in the College of Natural Sciences, will lead the team’s investigation into the biological and physical processes of the marine life in the area, in hopes of discovering how best to extract oil without hurting the Arctic ecosystem.

Photo courtesy College of Natural Sciences.


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