CONCORDE is the CONsortium for oil spill exposure pathways in COastal River-Dominated Ecosystems (CONCORDE).  It is one of 12 research consortia funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to conduct scientific studies of the impacts of oil, dispersed oil and dispersant on the Gulf’s ecosystem and public health during 2015-17. Each consortium consists of a lead investigator and collaborators from four or more other institutions.

CONCORDE is one of 12 research consortia funded of a total of 47 proposals submitted for merit review by GoMRI.  CONCORDE received $11 million of the $140 million total support by the GoMRI program.

The Southern Miss-led consortium consists of the Department of Marine Science located at Stennis Space Center and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs with seven research partners:   Mississippi State University,  Rutgers University,  Oregon State University,  Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Old Dominion University,  and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. The lead investigator is Dr. Monty Graham, chair of the Department of Marine Science at Southern Miss and Interim Director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.  There are 15 additional co-investigators.

CONCORDE’s Mission

Quantifying toxicant exposure from the Oil and Dispersant System (ODS, the chemically or naturally created microscopic droplets of oil and any associated chemical dispersant) is one of the critical goals of oil spill recovery efforts, both in terms of long-term environmental restoration and mandated damage assessment. CONCORDE, the CONsortium for oil spill exposure pathways in COastal River- Dominated Ecosystems, will expressly address how complex fine-scale structure and processes in coastal waters dominated by pulsed-river plumes control the exposure, impacts, and ecosystem recovery from offshore spills like the Deepwater Horizon release of 2010.

In a comprehensive Education and Outreach Program, CONCORDE will utilize its scientists and research activities to 1) engage specific public audiences, including teachers and culturally diverse fishers, in conducting and sharing the results of scientific inquiry; 2) communicate research results to the broader public audience via community meetings, a website and public presentations; and 3) assess the level of trust in science among members of the public and the degree of success of this project in improving trust.

“Our primary emphasis is on near-shore waters in the northern Gulf of Mexico and how rivers influence the transport, fate and toxicity of oil as it interacts with coastal waters and biology,” said Graham. “Deepwater Horizon revealed many surprises including formation of deep plumes and impacts to wetlands. One of the major missing linkages is how oil interacted with the nearshore environment around the large river inputs of the north central Gulf.”

CONCORDE will help fulfill GoMRI’s mission of using rigorous science and advanced technologies as means for improving fundamental understanding of the dynamics of oil, dispersed oil and dispersant and their environmental stresses. The integration and synthesis of CONCORDE research will advance the understanding of how coastal marine ecosystems respond to, and recover from, large-magnitude oiling events.

GoMRI is a 10-year research initiative established in 2010 and funded by a $500 million commitment by BP. GoMRI is administered by an independent Research Board, which consists of 20 experts in science, research administration, and public health. The Research Board evaluates research proposals following merit review guidelines of the National Academies of Science and procedures similar to those of the U.S. National Science Foundation.

To learn more about GoMRI, visit: http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/. For more information about Project CONCORDE, contact Monty Graham at monty.graham@usm.edu

To continue to learn about CONCORDE check out this poster: CONCORDE Poster or watch this video: Oil Spill Research Project CONCORDE Launched at Southern Miss