Monthly Archives: October 2017

Fact SheetsMaterials Sea Grant Releases Boater’s Guide on Handling Oil and Fuel Spills: Now in Spanish, Vietnamese & Puerto Rican Spanish Brochure for boater

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is pleased to announce a new Sea Grant informational brochure just in time for the summer boating season. The one-page guide gives boaters information on how to prepare for, respond to, and report an accidental oil or fuel spill on their vessels. A Boater’s Guide to Handling Oil and Read More

GoMRI ScienceGoMRI ScientistsPeoplePublication Highlights Study Finds Low Oil Concentrations Impair Self-Preservation Behaviors in Coral Reef Fish Larvae This study (Nature Ecology & Evolution, Johansen et al., 2017) used larval fishes like this. Image by Jacob Johansen.

Researchers from the United States, Australia, and Europe conducted mesocosm experiments to assess how larval reef fishes respond physiologically and cognitively to low crude oil concentrations. The team observed that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), at levels recorded in industrialized sections of tropical coral reefs worldwide, increased larvae mortality and stunted growth rates. The larvae exhibited Read More

Fact SheetsMaterials ACER Consortium Education & Outreach Fact Sheets ACERLogo

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. These are an excellent classroom resource for science teachers on current Read More

GoMRI StudentsPeople Grad Student Rohal Examines Tiny Organisms to Understand Deep-Sea Ecosystems Melissa identifies a copepod at the Copepod workshop in South Korea. (Provided by Melissa Rohal)

Meiofauna provide important ecosystem services such as waste removal to the deep sea-floor environment and can act as indicators of ecosystem health. Because meiofauna live a largely sedentary life due to their small size and sediment habitat, they are often unable to escape an area affected by unusual disturbances, such as the Deepwater Horizon incident. Melissa Rohal is Read More

LinksOutreachStudent Activities Sea Grant to Host Oil Spill Seminars in October & November 2017 seagrant_logo

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team would like to announce the second of three Responding to oil spills seminars, an all-day free event in Mobile, Alabama, to discuss the unique challenges to responding to oil spills affecting beach and nearshore environments (see below and attached). The event is open to the public and lunch will Read More

GoMRI ScienceGoMRI ScientistsPeoplePublication Highlights Study Characterizes Oil and Gas Bubbles Released from Natural Hydrocarbon Seeps Researchers positioned a newly-designed high-definition video camera in front of natural hydrocarbon vents and recorded bubble behavior at two GC600 seeps (C) 2-day deployment and (D), 26-day deployment (Figure 2 in publication, used with permission)

Scientists video recorded bubbles released from natural seafloor seeps in the Gulf of Mexico to determine the rate and volume of oil and gas released. The researchers observed that oily bubbles were larger and released more slowly than gaseous or mixed (part-oil, part-gas) bubbles. This study is the first attempt of long-term camera deployment at Read More

GoMRI ScienceMaterialsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts ECOGIG Scientists Embark on “Jewels of the Gulf” Research Cruise 4493

The 12-day expedition will assess the effects of oil, methane, and chemical dispersants on deep-sea corals. Remotely operated vehicles at over 1000 meters depth will capture hundreds of high-resolution still images of corals that the researchers have been monitoring since 2010. The team will analyze the images and compare them to those from previous expeditions Read More

GoMRI StudentsPeople Grad Student Xue Uses Light to Characterize Oil Plume Fragmentation Xinzhi adjusts the laser optics for particle image velocimetry experiments. (Provided by Xinzhi Xue)

Laser light and high-speed cameras can help researchers observe the behavior of oil droplets within a laboratory-simulated oil plume and interpret how the oil subsequently may move through the water column. Xinzhi Xue uses lasers to non-invasively probe inside the oil plume and get a detailed look at the oil fragmentation process. “This knowledge is crucial Read More

GoMRI ScienceGoMRI ScientistsPeoplePublication Highlights Study Assesses How Sunlight and Microbial Degradation Affect Oil-Derived Sand Patties Sand patties that researchers found in the swash zone of Gulf of Mexico beaches contain approximately 10-15% oil. Photo provided by Joseph M. Suflita.

Researchers analyzed the combined effects of photooxidation and biodegradation on sand patties associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident. The scientists found that irradiation contributed to increased concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, which leached from sand patties penetrated by seawater. The dissolved organic carbon was more susceptible to aerobic biodegradation compared to control treatments. These findings represent Read More

GoMRI ScienceGoMRI ScientistsGoMRI StudentsPeopleResearch Stories Video Shows New Research Tactics for Mahi-Mahi Tagging A mahi is loaded into a recovery tank after tagging. (Provided by RECOVER)

Data and pictures from before and after a disaster help us understand the impacts of an event; however, the “before” is not always available. Researchers with the RECOVER consortium have found through oil-exposure laboratory studies that the Deepwater Horizon incident may have negatively affected mahi-mahi’s heart function, vision, and swim performance. To get the “before” data on mahi-mahi behavior, Read More

GoMRI ScienceGoMRI ScientistsPeoplePublication Highlights Study Finds Different Avoidance Behaviors in Estuarine Fish to Oiled Sediment Sheepshead minnow. Photo credit: C. Filosa

A Louisiana State University researcher conducted laboratory experiments to learn how estuarine fish behave around sediments containing varying concentrations of weathered and fresh oil. He observed that fish exhibited a stronger avoidance response to medium and high concentrations of fresh oil compared to low concentrations and observed no significant avoidance of any weathered oil concentrations. Read More

GoMRI StudentsPeople Grad Student Bhalerao Analyzes Food Webs of Horse Fly Larvae to Assess Marsh Health Devika and Chinmay Tikhe floating tabanid larvae out of marsh sediments. (Photo by Claudia Husseneder)

Greenhead horse fly larvae are the top invertebrate predator in the Spartinamarshes along the Gulf of Mexico coastline. Adult and larval horseflies exhibited reduced genetic variation and population declines in oiled marshes after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which suggests that these organisms could be an indicator species for post-spill marsh health. Devika Bhalerao uses DNA analyses to identify organisms Read More