Along the Oil-Stricken Gulf Coast, Research Labs Watch and Worry

Gulf of Miss

Jim Franks, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Sargassum collected by scientists from the U. of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is coated with oil. Sargassum is an essential nursery habitat for a threatened species the scientists are studying, the Atlantic bluefin tuna.

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Jim Franks, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

Sargassum collected by scientists from the U. of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is coated with oil. Sargassum is an essential nursery habitat for a threatened species the scientists are studying, the Atlantic bluefin tuna.

The west side of Dauphin Island, on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, has been slimed with oil. And Scott Rikard, a marine biologist and the manager of the Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory, is grimly waiting for the oil to come around to the east side, where his research facility sits.

The other night, the laboratory shut down its pumping equipment, which provides seawater to its stocks of oyster larvae, because Mr. Rikard was afraid that the pipes and pumps, which cost hundreds of