Richard Conn

Richard Conn works as a staff writer for the Center for Research and Economic Opportunity at the University of West Florida.
He has 18 years of experience working for newspapers in Florida, Massachusetts and Tennessee.
He has won several awards, including from the Tennessee Press Association and the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He most recently worked at the Daytona Beach News-Journal and was previously a staff writer for The Tennessean.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Conn is a lover of classic rock and blues music and a fan of New York Yankees baseball.

Among the projects funded by BP because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the deployment of artificial reefs along Florida’s Panhandle as part of an effort to restore crucial habitats for fish and other marine animals.

University of West Florida researchers are part of a team conducting a study to see how effective some of those reefs are in creating a productive ecosystem that will attract fish and help revitalize the commercial fisheries affected by the spill.

The pesticide DDT has been found in sediment samples from the Escambia River and its adjacent wetlands, a post-doctoral research associate at the University of West Florida has discovered.

Dr. Geoffrey Marchal, who was hired in April to begin the research, is now testing those sediment samples to see how readily available the pollutant is to the many diverse species that inhabit the bay.

“That’s the big concern,” Marchal said. “If the DDT in the sediment is bioavailable and can go through the food chain, then we have an issue.”