January 17, 2019  

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Southern Miss Joins with Pelagic Research Services for Gulf Research

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The University of Southern Mississippi's research vessel Point Sur.

The University of Southern Mississippi Research Foundation and Pelagic Research Systems are announcing the signing of a joint asset and expertise collaboration. The pairing of resources in the Gulf of Mexico will greatly expand ocean research capabilities for offshore works.

“The partnership between Pelagic Research Services (PRS) and the USMRF represents a new way for the university to fulfill its marine research mission when technologies can be cost-prohibitive,” said Monty Graham, interim director of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and chair of the Department of Marine Science at Southern Miss. “Partnering with the private sector can be a win-win and we should look for more ways to work with the private sector in the areas of marine technologies in the future.”

With the ability to support the various ongoing works in the region, including the long-term vision for restoration that relates to the Gulf, the PRS and Southern Miss partnership will be available for both scientific and commercial project integration.

“Southern Miss has a strong vision to support and conduct ocean research in the Gulf of Mexico and nearby regions,” said Ed Cassano, CEO of Pelagic Research Services. “This vision aligns perfectly with PRS.”

Pelagic Research Services is an ocean services company with decades of experience implementing, managing and supporting offshore, multi-disciplinary conservation and science projects.

“We can support Southern Miss’ growth by providing our expertise and equipment as a collaborator,” Cassano said.

The collaboration also allows for Southern Miss to have access to PRS’ Odysseus Remotely Operated Vehicle System aboard the R/V Point Sur. The Odysseus ROV System is a 6,500-meter-rated ROV system designed for research with a versatile and sophisticated science-class system. The ROV can support maintenance of ocean observation systems, surveying, and conduct video transects and observations.

“The ROV Odysseus is an amazing piece of equipment and will add a tremendous capability to Southern Miss and the Gulf Region’s ability to explore the deepest, most inaccessible habitats,” said Graham. “When Southern Miss purchased the R/V Point Sur, we did it with the goal of increasing our ability to work further from shore, deeper in the water and for longer periods of time. With Odysseus, we are definitely fulfilling this goal."

Southern Miss and Pelagic Research Services will celebrate their collaboration with tours of the R/V Point Sur and a presence at Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans from Feb. 21 until Feb. 26.

“The two groups have the same approach to supporting offshore work,” Cassano said. “It is a positive attitude with tireless support for getting the science completed.”