Rotarians Speak About Gulf Oil Spill
During a recent meeting the Rotary Club of Clearwater welcomed several guests. Students Willin Rice and Billy Hughes shared their recent experience at S4TL (Students 4 Team Leadership) with 160 others. The S4TL Training Program was held in June at Florida Southern College. The students met with community-leading Rotarians and attended workshops to foster team leadership.
Rotarian Fred Simmons introduced Tom Crisman and Mark Amen. Tom Crisman is a world-renowned water ecologist with USF. He spoke about USF's partnership with Rotary for Water projects in the Dominican Republic. Crisman has an appointment at USF for both the Department of Integrative Biology and the Patel Center for Global Solutions. Mark Amen is the Academic Director of the Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions and Deputy Editor, Globalizations.
Human populations worldwide face issues with water quality and quantity. This is especially apparent in the Dominican Republic. The engineers at USF and Columbia University put their expertise to use in: watershed management, building wells, municipal water management, and rainwater collection. Intensive projects were completed in Miches and Mina.
Crisman also shared information regarding the current Gulf Oil Spill Crisis. Crisman notes that USF, for the first time ever, was able to identify the many layers of oil involved in a spill. It is not merely the surface oil that we see that is the problem. USF identified huge plumes of oil far below the surface that will have an ecologic impact for decades to come. Crisman did share that the Gulf of Mexico has a large number of bacteria that consume oil.
The Gulf is an ideal habitat for them due to the high temperature (as opposed to Valdez, AK) and ready amount of oil that naturally exists. The bacteria in fact are getting a lot of the credit for oil clean up. Crisman did share concern of the use of dispersants and their negative impact on the environment, including that they may be carcinogenic.
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