October 7, 2020
Created by an Act of Congress and signed into existence by President Abraham Lincoln, the National Academies of Sciences advises the nation on scientific and technological issues. Much of this advice is provided through independent consensus reports generated by small committees of scientists appointed by the National Academies to synthesize information on a particular issue.
Professor Carys Mitchelmore is the latest in a number of Chesapeake Biological Laboratory faculty who have been invited to serve on a prestigious National Academies consensus committee. This is the third consensus committee that Mitchelmore herself will serve on for the National Academies, the prior two focusing on oil and oil spill chemical dispersants. Committee members are selected based on their expertise, integrity and independence. Mitchelmore has been appointed to a committee to study the inputs, fates and effects of oil in the marine environment. Mitchelmore’s appointment recognizes her expertise in the toxicological effects of oil on marine organisms.
At the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Mitchelmore’s work in environmental health and toxicology has centered around investigating the fate and effects of pollutants on aquatic organisms, especially corals. Recent endeavors have seen Mitchelmore assess the exposure (environmental concentrations) and impact of sunscreens (UV filters) on corals, investigate the abundance and variety of microplastics in the Chesapeake Bay, and work to increase the effectiveness of oyster aquaculture. Mitchelmore gained her reputation of excellence related to oil contamination through her studies on the Aegean Sea and Gulf of Mexico oil spills, examining the role of oil spill chemical dispersants on oil fate and effects in numerous taxa, and investigating the implications of oil exposure to understudied species like corals and turtles.
The Oil in the Sea IV Committee’s work is sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the American Petroleum Institute, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative and the National Academies. This committee will follow up on a series of reports created by the National Academies since 1975, the most recent being Oil in the Sea III in 2003.