The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is among institutions participating in a research team that the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi are leading in a $112.5 million project to learn how the Gulf of Mexico has fared since the 2010 BP oil spill.

Ole Miss is the lead university in a 14-member consortium, which was awarded $20 million over three years to study “Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf.” Its group is one of eight large research teams participating in the effort.

Goals for the UM-led study include analyzing remaining effects of the oil spill, predicting how future spills may affect sensitive areas, learning how oil behaves at different depths and comparing data from the BP blowout with that from natural oil seeps.

Other universities working with UNC-CH, Ole Miss and USM are Georgia, Florida State, Georgia Institute of Technology, Temple, Oregon State, Pennsylvania State, Columbia, Maryland, California-Santa Barbara, Texas-Austin and the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Other teams will study issues including ways to respond more effectively to future disasters like the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, which cost 11 lives and spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil from the Gulf-floor well.

The eight team projects are part of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative created with a 10-year, $500 million pledge from BP.

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