Monthly Archives: August 2017

Publication Highlights Study Finds Oil Exposure Reduces Cardiac Function and Survival in Red Drum Larvae Images of embryonic red drum phenotypes depict A) no oil exposure and B) 48-hours after exposure to high-energy water accommodated fractions from weathered oil collected from a Gulf of Mexico slick in June 2010. Note the increased pericardial area, spinal curvature and altered craniofacial shape between treatments. (Figure 2 in the publication, permission from Andrew Esbaugh).

Researchers conducted laboratory experiments to assess the lethal and sublethal impacts of weathered and non-weathered crude oil exposure on red drum larvae. The scientists observed a 70% reduction in cardiac output in oil-exposed larvae, even at low oil concentrations. The reduction in cardiac output was proportional to the occurrence of pericardial edema, suggesting a relationship Read More

GoMRI StudentsResearch Stories Grad Student Malone Uses Engineering Skills to Put Pressure on Oil Karen operates a high-pressure test center. (Provided by Hamburg University of Technology)

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident highlighted new challenges and science gaps in our understanding of and ability to respond to deep-water oil releases.  Of particular importance is how highly pressurized oil and gas behaves in a deep-sea environment.  Karen Malone uses her engineering background to build high-pressure tanks that replicate deep-sea conditions in a laboratory Read More

GoMRI ScientistsGoMRI StudentsOutreachPeopleTeachers and Students DEEPEND Hosts American Heritage School Science Camp Students 4577

Twenty students recently visited consortium researchers at Nova Southeastern University to learn about deep-sea organisms. The students heard presentations from graduate students, observed an active toxicity experiment, and helped researchers collect data during an hourly monitoring of oil-exposed crustaceans. Read about the event here.

GoMRI ScientistsPeople Get to Know CWC Researcher Giulio Mariotti 4573

Mariotti is a geobiologist developing a model to predict the rate at which marshes retreat due to waves and pond formation. His research will help predict future marsh loss and identify strategies to reduce it. Learn more about his background and research here!

GoMRI ScienceResearch Stories CONCORDE Identifies New Details about Gulf Plankton and Marine Snow Distribution Patterns 4569

The CONCORDE scientists have been hard at work processing the data collected from the cruises on the R/V Point Sur and the R/V Pelican. Early analyses of images collected during consortium research cruises are finding new ways that the physical environment affects the distribution of organisms and marine snow in the water column. Read more Read More

GoMRI ScienceMaterialsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts CARTHE and Waterlust Release “The Motion of the Ocean” Video 4565

CARTHE has conducted some of the largest ocean current surveys and expeditions to collect important data about material transport in the ocean. This video highlights the tools and techniques that modern researchers use to study ocean currents and develop more accurate ocean circulation models. Watch the video here.

Fact SheetsMaterials ACER Tool Talk Series Features Stable Isotope Analysis 4561

Consortium researchers use stable isotope analysis to determine stable isotope ratios in an organism’s tissues to reconstruct food webs in oiled and non-oiled coastal environments. Specifically, they collect blood and muscle tissue samples from mid-level and higher order consumers, like sharks, to find out if there was any effect of the oil on the consumer Read More

GoMRI StudentsResearch Stories Grad Student Johnson Uses Amino Acids to Demystify Salt Marsh Food Webs Jessica presents her research at the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science conference in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Michael Polito)

Salt marshes support commercially and culturally important species and are often subject to natural and human-caused stressors. Gaps in our knowledge of salt marsh food webs made management and restoration decisions difficult after the Deepwater Horizon spill. Jessica Johnson helps fill this gap using novel chemical analysis techniques to describe the diets of salt marsh organisms and trace how Read More

Fact SheetsLesson PlansMaterialsStudent Activities Education Spotlight – Summer 2017 GoMRI Newsletter 4751a

GoMRI Outreach Coordinators Lauren Bracken, from the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE), and Jessie Kastler, from the Consortium for Oil Exposure Pathways in Coastal River-Dominated Ecosystems (CONCORDE), attended the 2017 National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) Annual Conference from June 25-29 in Charleston, South Carolina. This year’s theme was Seas of Change: Lowcountry Lessons in Resiliency. Read More

Publication Highlights Study Assesses How Chemical Dispersant Affects Oil Plume Behavior A comparison of an oil plume without dispersant (left or a) and one with dispersant at a 1:100 dispersant to oil ratio (right or b). The insets show typical droplet sizes in magnified sections corresponding to the white squares. Image credit David Murphy.

  A comparison of an oil plume without dispersant (left or a) and one with dispersant at a 1:100 dispersant to oil ratio (right or b). The insets show typical droplet sizes in magnified sections corresponding to the white squares. Image credit David Murphy.   Scientists conducted laboratory experiments with a simulated oil plume to Read More

MaterialsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts Science at Sea: SPLASH Experiment Improves Predictions for Oil Moving toward Shore

Response decisions during Deepwater Horizon relied on forecasts of where the oil was going and when it would get there.  Researchers with the CARTHE consortium have been working to improve the information that goes into making ocean transport forecasts. The group recently completed the last of four field experiments that link the dynamics of deep ocean, shelf, Read More

Fact SheetsGoMRI StudentsMaterialsOutreach CRGC Releases Two-Pager Detailing Transdisciplinary Student Outreach 4557

CRGC experts come from from diverse fields. Working directly with experts outside their own fields of study enhances students’ insights about disaster, recovery, and resilience, while improving their problem solving skills and passion for their work. The two-page pamphlet describes the consortium’s efforts to provide graduate and undergraduate students with hands-on opportunities to work with Read More

GoMRI SciencePublication Highlights GoMRI Science Featured by Science Journal for Kids 4553

Recent research into Deepwater Horizon’s impacts on salt marsh fiddler crabs has been adapted for the journal’s Environmental Science Journal for Teens publication. The research team included researchers from two Louisiana State University-led projects (1, 2) and the Florida Institute of Oceanography. Read the article. Additional materials can be accessed here..

Fact SheetsMaterials ACER Fact Sheet Highlights Nitrogen Cycling Group 4549

The ACER fact sheet series focuses on the emerging research from our seven research groups. This series will include a total of 15 fact sheets over the course of two years (2016-2017) with each individual research group receiving two fact sheets covering their research and publications. The Nitrogen Cycling research group investigates the processes that Read More

Publication Highlights Study Characterizes Effects of Corexit Components on Oil Aerosolization (Top) The bubble column reactor after injection of oil premixed with Span 80 (left) or DOSS (right). (Bottom) Molecular simulations of alkane n-triacontane with Span 80 (left) or DOSS (right) at the air/seawater interface; black = oil compound C30, red = seawater; cyan/yellow = surfactants. (Image provided by Francisco Hung, from Figures 3 and 7 in the publication)

Researchers combined laboratory experiments and molecular simulations to examine how two Corexit surfactants – DOSS (dioctyl sulfosuccinate) and Span 80 – individually affect oil aerosolization. Using a bubble column reactor, the scientists found that more oil hydrocarbons (alkanes) were ejected when Span 80 was present (by more than an order of magnitude for heavy hydrocarbons) Read More

GoMRI ScientistsPublication Highlights Study Analyzes Metabolic Pathways of Oil-Degrading Bacteria An epifluorescence microphotograph of a complex bacterial community feasting on or associated with an oil floc (pink). Gammaproteobacteria (green) are the majority of cultured, well-studied alkane- and aromatics-degrading bacteria. Other bacteria (blue) thrive in close association with the oil particle and their gammaproteobacterial neighbors. (Photo by Luke McKay, Montana State University).

Researchers analyzed bacterial communities exposed to Deepwater Horizon oil and identified taxa and genes associated with oil degradation and assimilation. The scientists found that Marinobacter and Alcanivorax dominated alkane-degrading communities, while Alteromonadales, Oceanospirillales, and Rhodospirillales dominated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)-degrading communities. Oil-degrading bacteria exhibited genes associated with motility and nutrient uptake needed for nutrient-limiting conditions Read More