Gulf Spill Science Advisory Panel Members

The National Wildlife Federation is committed to a complete clean-up and restoration of the Gulf’s fragile ecosystems, facilitating the recovery and protection of the region’s fish and wildlife populations and the livelihoods that depend on them, and advocating for reforms in offshore drilling policies to prevent a repeat of this disaster.

We've convened this Science Advisory Panel to make sure our response is based on the best science, focused on the most significant issues, and designed to have the most impact.

For Science Advisory Panel media inquiries, contact: Miles Grant, grantm@nwf.org or 202-797-6855.

Dr. George Crozier
Director, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

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[A BP official] spent the first five minutes lecturing me about the dispersant toxicity. I told him I wasn't worried about that. I was worried about the toxicity of the dispersed oil. He didn't want to address that." – Dr. George Crozier to the Alabama Press Register, May 21, 2010

Dr.  George Crozier has worked tirelessly to protect the Gulf for more than 30 years, coming out of retirement to return to his crucial work as executive director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) in 2008.

He has contributed invaluable research aimed at helping scientists better understand the immediate and long-term impacts of the Gulf oil disaster and be better prepared for similar catastrophes in the future. He has also advised on matters concerning the safety of Gulf seafood following the spill. 

Dauphin Island Sea Lab is located at the mouth of Mobile Bay in an area directly impacted by the spill, and the sea lab's scientists there are diligently studying the long-term effects of the oil on marine life and the coast.

Jim Franks
Senior Research Scientist, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

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We did encounter some effects from the spill....Because of the location and magnitude of the spill...we think these young fish are in a precarious situation at this time." – Jim Franks to ABC 13, June 2, 2010

Jim Franks is a key figure of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL), which has provided vital research and analysis of the Gulf oil disaster's effects on marine wildlife.  Within just days of the disaster's beginning, Franks and the scientists of GCRL were in the field collecting marine evidence to ensure that the necessary responses to protect wildlife could be made as quickly as possible. Later, he gave expert analysis on how the Gulf oil disaster would affect spawning bluefin tuna, an already strained marine species.

Dr. Ian R. MacDonald
Professor of Oceanography, Florida State University

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The place where we know the least is where we want to know the most. We've never seen anything like this." – Dr. Ian MacDonald to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 9, 2010

While oil was still flowing into the Gulf and BP and the federal government scrambled to downplay the crisis, Dr. Ian MacDonald was one of the first voices demanding an accurate measurement of the gusher by the scientific community. Because of his whistle-blowing, it was later learned the true figure might have been as high as 2.52 million gallons a day.
The Florida State University oceanographer's research also helped prove the BP oil continued lurking in the Gulf threatening wildlife long after the well was capped.

National Wildlife Federation named Dr. MacDonald as one of its Top 10 unsung heroes of the Gulf oil disaster.

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...Not only is nobody listening to [the scientific community in the Gulf of Mexico] in this, but it seems like they really want us to shut up." – Dr. Ian MacDonald to the Houston Chronicle, May 18, 2010

Dr. Richard Snyder
Professor of Biology & Director, Center for Environmental Diagnostics & Bioremediation, University of West Florida

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 There is a point of no return where we exceed the resilience of the environment. Have we done that [with the Gulf oil spill]? We don't know." – Dr. Richard Snyder to Christian Science Monitor, July 13, 2010

Jumping in quickly to fill both information and data gaps when the spill started, Dr. Richard Snyder continues to monitor stations on the coast for oil and oil residues and maintains that vigilance while providing information locally and nationally on the impacts of the spill in the midst of hyperbole claiming either complete disaster or no effect whatsoever.

Dr. Robert Twilley
Vice President for Research, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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These systems will recover. It's going to be the length of time that's uncertain. And the important thing is, what happens in the meantime? What services do the wetlands provide the state of Louisiana? Fisheries, flood control, nutrient removal, habitat for ducks and nesting birds."

From early on in the crisis, Dr. Robert Twilley afforded his expertise in wetlands ecology, management practices and the biogeochemistry of coastal wetlands to help prepare the Gulf Coast responders for every possible outcome of the oil disaster.

Ranging from how the hydrology of the Mississippi River helped protect the coast from oil, to predicting how a hurricane would interact with the oil, Dr. Twilley has been a vital part of putting sound science into the spill response.

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Four Years into the Gulf Disaster