ambience: ocean, waves breaking
The oceans are one of the last frontiers of unknown species — some of which may be useful to man. Off the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have been gathering underwater life looking for potential sources of new drugs. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Before the aquatic organisms can be analyzed, they first have to be located. Rather than heading out to sea with high hopes and a fishing net, a team from Louisiana State University has chosen to study sea life which has already encrusted itself onto some rather old man made structures. Project leader Lawrence Rouse.
“Well the objective of our research are to look at the organisms on the offshore oil and gas platforms off of the coast of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Also we’re looking to see if any of these organisms are potential sources of things like pharmaceuticals or adhesives.”
“The main reason why we’re looking at the offshore oil and gas platforms is because they are a artificial reef. And as a result of that we can take organisms off of these platforms without harming natural reefs.”
In the interest of time, Rouse and his team of specialists have decided to narrow their search even further.
“Obviously the three thousand platforms that are off the coast of Louisiana can not all be looked at. What we’re going to be looking at is a sub sample of that. We’re going to be looking at platforms that are near the coast in more turbid water — water with higher sediment concentrations — all the way out to platforms that are in very deep water because across this range of conditions, we expect to find a different suite of organisms.”
And more organisms means more potential pharmaceuticals. Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.