Researchers from the Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy in the LSU AgCenter Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness have received a three-year award of more than $750,000 to study the value of the environmental monitoring system in the Gulf of Mexico.

The award was made through the LSU Coastal Marine Institute, a partnership between LSU and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the U.S. Department of Interior, with funding shared equally between LSU and the federal agency.

According to the AgCenter, a vast array of buoys and other sensors scattered throughout the Gulf provide important data to weather forecasters and others interested in the behavior of the Gulf’s ecosystem.

The environmental monitoring system provides science-based biological, chemical and physical data for managing marine industrial operations, coastal hazards, public safety and health, ecosystems and water quality, said Rich Kazmierczak, an AgCenter economist and leader of the research team.

Experts estimate the overall funding for the system will exceed $54 billion during the next 15 years.