Gulf Specimen Lab Plans Noah's Ark Operation

Florida’s Gulf Specimen Marine Lab is launching “Operation Noah’s Ark,” an aggressive plan to mitigate the catastrophic effects the oil spill is having on sea life in the Gulf of Mexico.

This multi-pronged initiative will filter harmful bacteria caused by the oil pollution, repopulate the Gulf’s waters with marine life, and reinvigorate local fisheries.

“We can ensure a future for marine life in the Gulf, but we have to act fast and we cannot do it alone,” said Jack Rudloe, lab founder. “We need the support of donors and volunteers to get these programs launched as quickly as possible.”

To combat the oil spill damage, Operation Noah’s Ark will:

  • retrofit lab facilities and a nearby shrimp hatchery with closed system technologies that can protect its specimens before oil hits the lab.
  • submerge large branches into the Gulf to provide a habitat for oysters and other sea life. This helps repopulate species and helps filter and cleanse the water of excess plankton and bacteria.
  • submerge manmade fiberglass habitats to create artificial reefs. These become home to many species of marine life and act as natural filters for the excess bacteria that often builds up after an oil spill.
  • grow shrimp stocks in hatcheries. After the Gulf is no longer polluted with oil, the shrimp will be released into the sea where they will multiply, and fisherman will be able to harvest them.

Rudloe founded the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in 1963 to support marine research and education both on site and at universities throughout the United States and Canada.

Anne Rudloe is managing director of the lab and an adjunct professor at Florida State University. She has worked as a consultant on public resource issues for the state's Department of Environmental Protection and the Atlantic States Fisheries Management Council.

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