On Friday, May 10, 2013, members of the Alabama Gulf Recovery Council voted unanimously to designate the Dauphin Island Sea Lab as the center of the RESTORE (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourism Opportunities, and Revived Economy) Research Center of Excellence for Alabama. The RESTORE Act was passed by Congress to provide funding for better research opportunities following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. As JSU is a member of the Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium (MESC), a partnership between the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and various colleges and universities within Alabama, this will provide access to better technology and research opportunities for JSU and other university students within the state of Alabama.
JSU Biology professor and University-appointed Liasion Officer to MESC, Dr. George Cline explains, “After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the U.S. Congress passed the RESTORE Act which specified that a portion of the money generated from penalties incurred under the Clean Water Act resulting from the spill be designated to each of the affected Gulf States. The Act created the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, and required that the Council designate a Research Center of Excellence to receive and disperse this money to conduct research in specified areas of research related to recovery from the oil spill… Jacksonville State University is an original member of the Marine Environmental Science Consortium. JSU faculty and students have been actively involved in research related to recovery from the spill, along with colleagues from the other consortium schools. The new status as a Center for Research Excellence will ensure that funding will continue to support research in marine and estuarine ecosystem recovery, data collection and evaluation of fishery stocks that will lead to better management of these vital resources. JSU faculty and students will find new opportunities for research and students will experience new opportunities to apply knowledge gained from their classroom work. While the oil spill was a tragic event, this is a major step forward to ecological and economic recovery in the Gulf, and our students and faculty will have the opportunity to be actively involved.”