Oil Spill Science Outreach SpecialistNueces County
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive
NRC 2800, Unit 5840
Corpus Christi, Texas, 78412
Organization: Texas Sea Grant
Christine Hale’s current role is as a link between communities and the science coming from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), a research program that aims to mitigate effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the marine environment and public health, and improve understanding of oil spill issues in general. She is one of four Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Specialists and works with her counterparts in the other Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Programs to foster two-way communication between researchers who conduct oil spill science and the multiple stakeholder groups that need this information to make more informed decisions.
“I share emerging oil spill science, primarily locally and regionally, but sometimes nationally and internationally as well,” says Hale. “I take the science directly to people who have been impacted by oil spills or whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf— such as fishing industry, tourism staff, natural resource managers, emergency response personnel, political leaders, public health officials and environmental nongovernmental organizations. People need fact-based information to make informed decisions.”
Hale’s team publishes peer-reviewed bulletins distilling the latest research on a variety of topics, and they also share that information through seminars and workshops. The science coming from the GoMRI community, as well as other sources, has resulted in a huge wealth of information, but also one that few people have the time or experience to sort through. Hale and the rest of the team are doing it for them, refining the information and helping to bring everyone in the community to the table. They also examine research from other oil spills to help people understand the complexity and comprehensive nature of both short-term and long-term effects.
Hale encourages community feedback as to which outreach products people find useful and what other kinds of information they need. “For example, we use feedback on what types of oil spill science people need more or less of, in order to deliver products specific to our audiences, and adjust our goals for future outreach. Our effort is dependent upon what the community needs.”
With a bachelor’s degree in marine science and a master’s in environmental science, Hale has a passion for community-capacity building and experience studying human dimensions and coastal and ocean ecosystems. She is a PADI Divemaster and has a special place in her heart for coral reef conservation.