The COAST Team

Community Outreach for Accurate Science Translation

Three years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill many questions remained about the impact of the spill on the Mississippi Sound and its fisheries. Scientists at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah, Georgia, and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, are exploring how oil and dispersants affect the growth of commercially important blue crabs and ecologically important grass shrimp. To help communicate the results, they recruited a team of commercial and recreational fishermen, seafood industry professionals, naturalists, teachers and other interested members of the public - the COAST Team.

Members of the COAST team spent six Saturdays in the classroom, in the lab, and in the field, assisting scientists in understanding how oil and dispersant might have changed grass shrimp and crab molting. Equipped with this experience COAST team members became an information and education resource to the coastal community.

To learn more about the project, contact Aaron Lamey in the Marine Education Center at or 818-8861.

COAST Team Members   Activities   Resources

COAST Team Members

COAST Team Activities

The team is sharing their newly earned knowledge to ensure their neighbors and colleagues understand how recent research is changing our understanding of oil impacts and Mississippi Sound ecology. The first step in that process was a half-day program of presentations and demonstrations for the public on June 1, 2013 at The Mary C O'Keefe Cultural Center of Art and Education in Ocean Springs. Each COAST Team member will also make at least one individual presentation to a local group during 2013.

These slides show COAST team members during a field trip on Mississippi Sound aboard GCRL's research vessel R/V Tom McIlwain and at the outreach event.


Fact Sheets

Each link opens a pdf file.


Communicating Spill Science: COAST at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (pdf)


Sample Microscope Video, Grass Shrimp


WLOX Story and Video

January 23, 2013 - "Gulf Coast Research Lab recruiting 'citizen scientists'"

Crab Outreach Project, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, exploring the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on blue crabs and grass shrimp



The Science of the Spill - This web site is a companion to three Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) television broadcasts titled The Science of the Spill. The project was conducted by University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and Mississippi State University with funding from a National Science Foundation rapid response grant. The three MPB programs are available for online viewing, along with additional interviews with scientists involved in oil spill research. There is an extensive bibliography.