The Reveille Online: Shell Co. donates to University: Coastal research lab to be built: “The University Department of Coast and Environment recently received $300,000 in donations from Shell Co. to establish a coastal environmental modeling lab.”: “The Shell donation allows researchers to take ideas about how the coast works, put them into computer code, run the code on high-powered machines and receive visual results.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 18 Nov 04
By Emma Frost
November 17, 2004
The University Department of Coast and Environment recently received $300,000 in donations from Shell Co. to establish a coastal environmental modeling lab.
The lab could help the University closely tie in with the state’s efforts on coastal restoration, said Robert Allen, assistant dean of the Department of Coast and Environment.
A coastal environmental modeling lab uses computer models to forecast how Louisiana’s coast will change under certain circumstances, said Robert Twilley, Wetland Biogeochemistry professor.
“LSU has always been a major leader in coastal science,” Twilley said. “Shell is acknowledging that.”
Twilley said the department is using the models to study the coast in two contexts.
The first model will demonstrate the condition of Louisiana coastlines in five years if no restoration is implemented.
The second model will allow researchers to calibrate the effects of different restoration measures and see what the coasts actually will look like.
The Shell donation allows researchers to take ideas about how the coast works, put them into computer code, run the code on high-powered machines and receive visual results.
“We can use that information to validate various planning phases of the restoration program,” Twilley said.
Twilley said the University is working with federal and state agencies to implement programs to save the coast.
Researchers study the disappearing Louisiana coastline firsthand and then use computers to find solutions.
“We can observe how the system works, sit at a computer and develop algorithms, solutions for solving our problems,” Twilley said.
Twilley said the most important function of the new lab will be the ability to show the University and other contributing institutions where their money will go and what kind of effects it will have.
Twilley said the department will use this money toward fixing the coast.
“In the past, coastal studies has been all about figuring out what went wrong in the past,” Twilley said. “We have the diagnosis, now we need the prognosis.”
Twilley said the lab also will show the public that they are working to restore the Louisiana coastline.
With Shell’s donation, the Department of Coast and Environment will buy more processors and visualization equipment, Twilley said.
The department will set up the new lab on the third floor of the Energy, Coast and Environment building and plans to move in Dec. 10, Twilley said.