University of North Texas Department of Biological Sciences professor Aaron Roberts will present his research on the impacts of oil spills on fish at 4 p.m. Sept. 26 (Wednesday) in the Lyceum (room 226) of the University Union, located at 1155 Union Circle Dr. The event, part of an on-going series called SMART Talks sponsored by the College of Science, is free and open to the public.
“On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a deep-water oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, suffered an explosion and a blowout that resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history,” said Roberts. “Exposure to oil from the spill has been shown to effect a large range of species including fish, oysters and marine mammals.”
Roberts’ research studies the impact of oil on the Gulf ecosystem and is currently focused on the health and well-being of native fish.
“We have found that when oil enters the water and spreads, fish can be affected in several ways. This includes effects on their vision, their heart and other systems at low concentrations of oil,” said Roberts. “These effects can ultimately impact the animal’s ability to find food and avoid predators.”
Roberts is an accomplished environmental toxicologist whose research on the fate and effects of environmental contaminants has received more than $3 million in funding from federal, state and industry sources. Sixteen graduate students and postdocs as well as 12 undergraduates have conducted research toward their degrees in Roberts' lab at UNT over the past 12 years. His laboratory was one of the lead testing labs for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment of the 2010 BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.