Graham to share oil spill research

Larissa Graham has joined the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and Auburn University’s Marine Extension and Research Center as a Gulf of Mexico oil spill extension specialist.

Each Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant program has hired an oil spill science extension specialist as part of a $1.5-million program funded through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). The four extension specialists will work as a team to create education programs to share GoMRI-funded oil spill research results with groups who depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico for their livelihoods.

“Larissa has an exceptionally strong background as an adult educator, and she knows how to work with science and diverse audiences,” said LaDon Swann, director of Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant and Auburn University Marine Programs.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative was created in 2010 with $500 million to invest over a 10-year period to investigate oil spill science topics and impacts of the spill. Universities across the United States are conducting research, which may also focus on improving mitigation and remediation technologies.

Chuck Wilson, GoMRI’s chief scientific officer and former Louisiana Sea Grant director, said Sea Grant has a rich history of working with science and reaching the audiences that use science-based information.

“There are very few, if any, organizations that have the capacity inherent in Sea Grant’s extension network,” he said.

Graham is a trained facilitator and has experience developing and evaluating outreach programs for various audiences. She has worked with Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Mississippi and the New York Sea Grant College Program. She has a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife science from Virginia Tech.

“There is a lot of valuable information that is coming out of the GoMRI-funded research projects looking at the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the environment and public health,” Graham said. “It is important that those results and products are provided to the different audiences that can use the information.”

Graham can be reached at