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This section contains stories about scientists, teachers, students, and others involved in research. They give a glimpse at what research involves and how one might become a researcher.

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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

GoMRI StudentsPublication Highlights Study Finds UV Exposure Late in Mahi-Mahi Embryo Development Enhances Oil Toxicity Ph.D student Jason Magnuson collects embryos at the University of Miami RSMAS. Photo provided by RECOVER.

Researchers conducted laboratory experiments on mahi-mahi embryos to determine the effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV) and oil co-exposure during different times in their development. The team observed that UV affected the success of mahi-mahi hatch in all exposure scenarios compared to controls but was highest (a 1.6- to 6-fold increase) when co-exposure occurred late in Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Science at Sea: U.S. and Cuban Scientists Collaborate in Historic OneGulf Expedition Marine geologist David Hollander (USF, right) instructs Cuban students on sediment core sampling techniques off northwest Cuba. Dr. Greg Brooks (Eckerd College, orange shirt) assists. Photo courtesy of C-IMAGE

Gulf-wide baseline for oil pollution monitoring complete!   Marine scientists advanced academic relations between the U.S. and Cuba during an 18-day research expedition (May 8-25) off the northwest coast of the island nation. Twenty-four scientists representing four universities sailed on the R/V Weatherbird II and collected 450 fish, 50 plankton, 150 water, and 1,500 sediment samples. They Read More

GoMRI ScientistsPublication Highlights Study Identifies Key Species that Influence Marsh Ecosystem Responses to Oiling The authors created a salt marsh food web with oil sensitivity ratings for each species or node. Clear circles indicate no data available. Blue, yellow, and red circles depict sensitivity scores of 0, 1, and 2, respectively. Nodes are arranged so that trophic level increases vertically. (Provided by Michael McCann)

Scientists constructed a food web model using data from published studies and their field experiences to understand how specific Louisiana salt marsh organisms influenced ecosystem response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The researchers found that carnivorous fishes were “critically resilient” and likely enhanced food web resilience. Gulls, terns, omnivorous snails, and wading birds were “critically sensitive” Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts RFP IV Update: Alabama Center for Ecological Resilience (Valentine) Researcher John Valentine

The ACER objectives are: To assess how coastal ecosystem structure, as measured by multiple estimates of biodiversity, and functioning (its provision of valuable processes and services) have been affected by differential exposure to Deepwater Horizon oiling. To determine how the biodiversity of coastal ecosystems can buffer resistance and recovery from oiling. To determine the conditions of Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Topography of Gulf of Mexico Influences Mixing and Distribution of Oil and Gas (Polzin) Researcher Kurt Polzin

The Understanding How the Complex Topography of the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Influences Water-column Mixing Processes and the Vertical and Horizontal Distribution of Oil and Gas after a Blowout project is lead by Kurt Polzin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. An integrated, multi-platform, observational field effort is proposed that makes direct observations of turbulent mixing in Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: 3D Gulf Circulation and Biogeochemical Processes – Profiling Float & Ocean Model (Shay) Researcher Lynn IK. Nick

The Three-Dimensional Gulf Circulation and Biogeochemical Processes Unveiled by State-of-the-Art Profiling Float Technology and Data Assimilative Ocean Models project is lead by Lynn K. (Nick) Shay, University of Miami. The overarching goal of this proposed research is to build a rapid response capability that can be deployed in the event of an oil spill. The Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Toxicological Properties of Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Deepwater Horizon Spill (Miller) Researcher Jeffrey Wickliffe

  The Toxicological Properties of Specific Aromatic Hydrocarbons Isolated from Fresh and Aged Crude Oil from the Deepwater Horizon Spill project is lead by Charles Miller, Tulane University. The scientific goal of this research is to elucidate the highly toxic compounds within fresh and weathered crude oil from the MC252 oil spill. The hypothesis of Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Food-Grade Dispersants as Highly Efficient / Safe Materials for Oil Spills (Raghavan) Researcher Srinivasa R. Raghavan

  The Molecular Engineering of Food-Grade Dispersants as Highly Efficient and Safe Materials for the Treatment of Oil Spills project is lead by P.I. Srinivasa R. Raghavan, University of Maryland The goal is to engineer a new class of dispersants that combine environmental safety and high efficiency. By avoiding the synthetic components in current dispersants Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Influence of river induced fronts on hydrocarbon transport (Kourafalou) Research Villy Kourafalou

  The Influence of river induced fronts on hydrocarbon transport project is lead by P.I. Villy Kourafalou, University of Miami. The overarching study objective is to understand, quantify and be able to predict the role of river plume induced fronts and circulation regimes in enhancing, modifying or altering the transport pathways of hydrocarbons, in the Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Transport & fate of oil in the upper ocean (Meneveau) Researcher Charles Meneveau

  The Transport and fate of oil in the upper ocean: Studying and modeling multi-scale physical dispersion mechanisms and remediation strategies using Large Eddy Simulation project is lead by P.I. Charles Meneveau, Johns Hopkins University. In the aftermaths of deep water blowouts, oil plumes rise through and interact with various layers of the ocean and Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Vertical upwelling & bottom-boundary layer dispersal at a natural seep site (Di Iorio) Researcher Daniela Di Iorio

  The Vertical upwelling and bottom-boundary layer dispersal at a natural seep site project is lead by P.I. Daniela Di Iorio, University of Georgia. The physical understanding of the vertical upwelling velocity and bottom boundary layer dispersal of a hydrocarbon seep in the Gulf of Mexico is extremely limited due to paucity of direct long-term Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Deep-sea Risk Assessment & Species Sensitivity (Knap) Researcher Anthony Hayden Knap

  The Deep-sea Risk Assessment and species sensitivity to WAF, CEWAF and Dispersant project is lead by P.I. Anthony Hayden Knap, Texas A&M University. Subsea injection of dispersants offers some significant benefits compared to the application of dispersants on the sea surface, for example access to the freshest and non-emulsified oil in the high turbulence environment, Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Spectroscopy for Specific Isomer Determination of Petroleum Oil Spills (Campiglia) Research Andres D. Campiglia

The A Combined Analytical and Synthetic Approach Based on Line Narrowing Spectroscopy for Specific Isomer Determination of Petroleum Oil Spills project is lead by P.I. Andres D. Campiglia, University of Central Florida. This proposal tackles a different aspect of PAHs analysis as it focuses on detection and characterization of higher-molecular weight PAHs (HMW-PAHs), i.e. PAHs with Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Role of Microbial Motility for Degradation of Dispersed Oil (Conrad) Jacinta C. Conrad

  The Role of Microbial Motility for Degradation of Dispersed Oil project is lead by P.I. Jacinta C. Conrad, University of Houston. Microbial biodegradation processes are thought to have played a substantial role in the surprisingly swift disappearance of oil and gas released into the Gulf of Mexico after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon MC252 blowout. Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Oil-Marine Snow-Mineral Aggregate Interactions and Sedimentation (Burd) Researcher Adrian Burd

The Oil-Marine Snow-Mineral Aggregate Interactions and Sedimentation during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill project is lead by P.I. Adrian Burd, University of Georgia. The goal of this project will be to use coagulation theory to develop a predictive, mechanistic model for how oil coagulates with particulate material in the marine environment. There is strong Read More

GoMRI StudentsResearch Stories Grad Student Parks Assesses How Disasters and Social Factors Influence Human Health Vanessa inside a helicopter at a heliport in Cut Off, LA, where offshore oil workers commute to and from work. (Provided by Vanessa Parks)

A person’s socioeconomic position can influence their health and well-being, and disasters can place additional strain on those whose health and well-being are already compromised. Vanessa Parks compiles and analyzes data on Gulf Coast communities that explores how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected mental and physical health and how social factors contributed to post-disaster health outcomes. “I Read More

GoMRI ScientistsPublication Highlights Study Develops Method to Quantify DOSS in Gulf of Mexico Sediments Study author Samantha Joye collects Gulf of Mexico sediment samples using a multi-corer. Photo courtesy of ECOGIG.

  Scientists developed and validated a high-resolution mass spectrometry method to fill data gaps in existing methods that detect the surfactant DOSS, a significant Corexit component, in sediments near the Deepwater Horizonspill site. The LC-QTOF-MS (LC-high mass accuracy quadruple time of flight mass spectrometry) method improved the sensitivity and selectivity required to detect small quantities of Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Mahmud Makes Acoustics and Tracking Marine Mammals “Click” Sakib stands on the deck of the R/V Pelican during LADC-GEMM’s 2015 recovery cruise. (Photo by Natalia Sidorovskaia)

Environmental stressors can cause changes in the abundance and location of certain marine mammal species, which can affect future populations. Researchers can track marine mammals using the number of vocalizations or clicks picked up by acoustic monitoring systems, which can provide insights into their recovery from environmental stressors and, more broadly, deep-water ecosystem health. Sakib Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Morales-McDevitt Explores How Nutrients Influence Marine Snow Formation Maya presents her preliminary findings at the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference. (Provided by Maya Morales-McDevitt)

Marine oil snow is the largest commuter of carbon to the seafloor and occurs when oil and marine particles aggregate and sink through the water column. Previous studies show that oil and dispersant significantly increased marine microorganisms’ production of exopolymeric substances (EPS), an extremely sticky goo that holds marine snow together. Maya Morales-McDevitt conducts mesocosm experiments investigating how certain Read More

GoMRI ScientistsPublication Highlights Study Documents Initial Impacts and Recovery of Benthic Foraminifera after Deepwater Horizon Patrick Schwing measures a sediment core extracted from the Gulf of Mexico seafloor. Photo Credit: Devon Firesinger 2015

Scientists analyzed sediment cores from two sites near the Macondo wellhead to characterize possible spill impacts on benthic foraminifera (single celled organisms with a hard shell). The team found elevated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations and a significant decrease in density and species diversity for foraminifera. The first signs of benthic recovery took about 1 Read More

GoMRI ScientistsGoMRI StudentsPublication Highlights Study Describes Response from Distinct Bacterial Groups to Marine Oil Snow First Author Tingting Yang [right], thesis advisor Andreas Teske [left], and fellow graduate student Lisa Nigro [left] point to the multicorer full of seafloor sediments, onboard R/V Atlantis in the northern Gulf of Mexico, November 2010. Photo provided by Andreas Teske.

Scientists conducted genetic sequencing on bacteria to document the oil-associated groups in sediment affected by marine oil snow post-Deepwater Horizon. The researchers observed increases in bacteria that degrade aerobic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and anaerobic sulfate-reducing bacteria in sediment collected from September-November 2010. Aerobic bacteria likely used oxygen rapidly when consuming PAHs and caused localized Read More

GoMRI ScientistsOutreachPeopleTeachers and Students SeaGlide Workshop Engages Teachers and Students in Ocean Research Technology 3973a

LADC-GEMM researchers from Oregon State University, the University of New Orleans, and Proteus Technologies explained how they use ocean gliders to collect temperature, pressure, and acoustic data such as sounds made by Gulf of Mexico whales and dolphins. The team guided the participants in constructing their own SeaGlide models assisted by eight Warren Easton Charter Read More

GoMRI ScientistsOutreachPeopleTeachers and Students CONCORDE Leads Expedition for Early Career Scientists 4005

The consortium led an expedition to Deer Island to teach early career scientists about the island’s history and how to create an elevation profile using elevation rods. They also explored the island to observe changes from one side to the other. See the original post here!

Citizen SciencePeopleTeachers and Students CRGC Hosts Second Executive Leadership Training Module 3997

The Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities (CRGC), the Institute for Disaster Resilience and Humanitarian Affairs at George Washington University, and the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) at Tulane University are hosting the second module of “Planning for Resilient Communities” Executive Leadership Training for the inaugural cohort of Southeastern Louisiana Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellows, who first Read More

Citizen SciencePeopleTeachers and Students CARTHE Hosts Poetry Competition Winners 3993

Students participating in the Piano Slam contest created works of poetry inspired by a specific musical selection. The winners of this year’s contest and their families were invited to visit the University of Miami, where they toured the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, learned about CARTHE research, and rewatched their winning poetry performances. Read More

GoMRI ScientistsGoMRI StudentsLesson PlansMaterialsOutreachStudent ActivitiesTeachers and Students Virtual Lab Creates More “Wow” Moments in Science Discovery 4009a

A child’s face lit up with wonder as she peered into a microscope for the first time and discovered a new world. Researchers at the Miami-based RECOVER consortium want experiences like this to happen more often for more students, so they designed and developed the RECOVER Virtual Lab. Now, scientists can engage students ages 8 Read More

GoMRI StudentsPeople Grad Student Girard Uses High-Definition Imagery to Assess Post-Spill Coral Recovery 4014a

Deep-sea corals are important organisms that support a healthy and diverse deep-sea ecosystem. However, there is much we do not know about certain coral species, including how they grow, reproduce, or interact with other organisms. Fanny Girard’s research helps bridge that knowledge gap through her work on how disturbances such as oil spills affect deep-sea Read More

GoMRI StudentsPeople Grad Student Dykstra Sees Global Applications for Local Ocean Circulation Maps 4031a

When Deepwater Horizon oil approached coastal environments, it was unclear how river water entering the Gulf of Mexico would affect the oil’s transport and fate. Steve Dykstra uses drifters and ship-deployed sensors to study how freshwater plumes disperse in the coastal environment over different seafloor topography. He plans to someday use his findings and experience Read More

OutreachPeople DROPPS Participates in UTMSI’s Women in Marine Science Day 4068

Team members recently taught 8th grade girls about plankton and how dispersed oil affects them for the University of Texas Marine Science Institute’s Women in Marine Science Day event. They projected live plankton on a screen to demonstrate how they move and then guided the girls in making their own plankton and discussing how they would Read More

GoMRI ScientistsOutreachPeopleTeachers and Students CARTHE and RECOVER Host Boy Scout Troup 4063

A group of Boy Scouts recently visited the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science to complete their oceanography badge. The boys met with members of the CARTHE and RECOVER teams and visited the SUSTAIN Laboratory’s wind wave tank. Photos from the visit are available here and here!

GoMRI StudentsPeople Grad Student Diamante Investigates How PAHs Affect Fish Development 4084a

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can disrupt important signaling pathways that transcribe genes during fish’s early embryonic development, which could cause malformations. Graciel Diamante is conducting laboratory experiments with fish embryos to understand how weathered PAHs affect fish development. She is also finding that her work demonstrates the importance of perseverance, giving back, and collaborating within Read More

GoMRI ScienceGoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Building a Rapid Response System for Predicting Water Column Processes and Oil Fate 4101a

As the Deepwater Horizon oil spill unfolded, there were concerns that the Loop Current might transport oil out of the Gulf to the Florida Keys and up the eastern seaboard. This possibility highlighted the need for quick predictions of oceanic flows and subsurface hydrocarbon distribution during and after a spill. Because physical and biochemical processes Read More

GoMRI ScienceGoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Building a Benthic Genome Database for Improved Oil Spill Monitoring 4116a

Meiofauna are invertebrate organisms that live in seafloor sediments. These marine creatures perform ecosystem functions such as trophic transfer, biogeochemical cycles, pollution removal, and sediment transport stability. Sensitive to environmental events such as oil spills, meiofauna are valuable bioindicators of impacts from contamination. However, their small size and our limited knowledge about these organisms’ community Read More

GoMRI StudentsPeople Grad Student Quas Analyzes Sediment Grain Size to Characterize Oil Behavior 3915a

Oil droplets can attach to tiny sediment particles suspended in the water column, causing them to sink to the seafloor where they can linger for a long time. Sediment grain size influences if and how oil droplets are resuspended into the water column. Larger particles sink faster and are more difficult to resuspend in the Read More

GoMRI ScientistsOutreach C-IMAGE to Host Second Story Collider Event 3946

The C-IMAGE Story Collider is a free spoken word event providing five life stories about the Gulf of Mexico oil spills. The event will take place during on Monday, February 6, at 7 pm at Club XLIV in New Orleans, Louisiana. More information about the event is available here.

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Chemical evolution & degradation of petroleum in saline marsh plants & soils (Van Bael) 3942

The importance of bacteria for biodegradation of petroleum is well described for contaminated seawater and coastal soils, but very little is known about the role of symbiotic plant bacteria in degrading petroleum. Endophytes are bacteria and fungi that live as symbionts within plant roots, stems and leaves. These symbionts are closely associated with the plant Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Resilience Attributes for Children, Youth, and Communities in Deepwater Horizon (Slack) 3938

The Understanding Resilience Attributes for Children, Youth, and Communities in the Wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill project is lead by Tim Slack, Louisiana State University. This proposal outlines a research agenda to assess the public health impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with special emphasis Read More

GoMRI ScientistsPeople Colwell Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow 3884

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) congratulates its Research Board Chair Dr. Rita Colwell for her selection as a National Academy of Inventors Fellow. This honor is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific innovative spirit in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that make a tangible impact on Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Identifying the “Missing Link” Between River-Induced Fronts and Hydrocarbon Transport 3859a

Researcher Oscar Garcia-Pineda demonstrates some of the methods the team uses to collect imagery and samples of floating oil near MC20. (Provided by Villy Kourafalou) The flow of the Mississippi River into the northern Gulf of Mexico may have caused circulation patterns and fronts that significantly influenced the transport and fate of Deepwater Horizon oil. Read More

GoMRI ScientistsVideo and Podcasts C-IMAGE Releases Aerial Video of OneGulf Expedition 3771

Researchers from the Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems (C-IMAGE, a GoMRI funded center) studied fish and seafloor sediments across the southern, western and northern Gulf of Mexico. Their goals were to understand the lasting impacts of oil spills and to develop baseline levels in Gulf waters. This aerial footage shows a Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on behaviors of fishers in Gulf of Mexico (Saul) 3761

The Avoiding Surprises: understanding the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the decision making behaviors of fishers and how this affects the assessment and management of commercially important fish species in the Gulf of Mexico using an agent-base project is lead by Steven Saul, Arizona State University. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill disrupted Read More

GoMRI Students How Grad Student Cui Uses River Diversion Models to Inform Oil Spill Remediation 3831a

When oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill began approaching land, one proposed response was to divert Mississippi River water and sediment into the marshes to try and push surface oil more towards the Louisiana-Texas shelf. Linlin Cui is investigating the impacts of Mississippi River diversions on Barataria Bay hydrodynamics to help inform how future oil Read More

Fact SheetsMaterialsOutreachTeachers and Students ACER Launches Fact Sheets Series 3801

The ACER fact sheet series focuses on the goals and emerging research of the consortium and will consist of 15 total fact sheets, with two fact sheets per each of the seven ACER research groups discussing their research and publications. The first sheet, Introducing ACER, shares the importance of diversity and resilience to the consortium’s research. Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Unraveling the Biotic and Abiotic Chemical Evolution of Macondo Oil (Rodgers) 3797

The The State-of-the-Art Unraveling of the Biotic and Abiotic Chemical Evolution of Macondo Oil: 2010-2018 project is lead by Ryan P. Rodgers, Florida State University. Once released into the environment, petroleum undergoes physical processes that modify its native composition (water washing and evaporative losses) and chemical processes (largely oxidative, i.e. photo-oxidation and biodegradation) that we Read More

GoMRI Students How Grad Student Seubert Interprets Gulf of Mexico Resiliency Using Predator Diet 3820a

Major environmental disturbances such as oil spills can alter a marine ecosystem’s structure and even cause species losses or additions in impacted areas – changes which may have long-term consequences for an ecosystem’s functions. Emily Seubert investigates the diets of marine predators in the northern Gulf of Mexico food web to better understand how the Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Reproductive Failure in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Recovery of Cetaceans (Smith) 3790

Concern about how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill may continue to negatively affect wild bottlenose dolphins living in the spill’s footprint remains high. Researchers supporting the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) studied live and stranded dolphins in the heavily affected area of Louisiana’s Barataria Bay and reported that exposed dolphins exhibited increased lung disease, adrenal Read More

GoMRI ScientistsOutreachVideo and Podcasts DEEPEND’s Tamara Frank Discusses Research and Struggles Entering Marine Biology Field 3787

Frank works with the consortium’s crustacean team studying creatures such as crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and krill. She speaks about her research and shares why getting a job as an aspiring female scientist was very challenging.

GoMRI Scientists Rita Colwell Honored with International Award for Tropical Medicine Research 3811

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) congratulates Dr. Rita Colwell for receiving the 2015 Mahathir Science Award. The international award, given annually by the Mahathir Science Award Foundation and the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, recognizes scientists who have pioneered tropical research breakthroughs. Colwell was honored for groundbreaking research, innovation, and scientific leadership in the Read More

GoMRI ScientistsOutreachVideo and Podcasts Watch: DROPPS Researcher Delivers Televised Talk on Oil Degradation 3783

In April 20, 2010, the Gulf of Mexico had its greatest mishap in record time with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, wherein an estimated 1,000 barrels of oil (peaking at more 60,000 barrels) per day were released into the Gulf for 87 days, for a total of 3.19 million barrels for the entire duration. The Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Genomic Responses to Deepwater Horizon and high-throughput biological assays (Thomas) 3775

The Genomic Responses to the Deepwater Horizon event and development of high-throughput biological assays for oil spills project is lead by W. Kelley Thomas, University of New Hampshire. Within the GoM, the benthic environment is biologically hyper-diverse, performing critical ecosystem functions that have consequences for the ecology of the entire GoM region. Benthic communities are Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Pasparakis Looks to Fish Embryos for Long-Term Oil Spill Answers 3739a

Studies that investigate the effects of oil exposure on developing fish are typically conducted at otherwise non-stressful ambient conditions, which may result in conservative impact estimates. Christina Pasparakis is studying the combined effects of oil exposure and other environmental stressors to create a more comprehensive assessment of Deepwater Horizon impacts. Christina is a marine science Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Fiore Investigates Oil Spill Impacts on Gulf Economy and Fisheries Resiliency 3719a

Natural and manmade disasters often involve long-term effects, but the majority of follow-up research tends to focus on the biophysical impacts rather than the social. Jacqueline Fiore, a Louisiana resident, understands how disasters such as hurricanes and oil spills can impact local industries, citizens, and ecosystems. Jacqueline, a Ph.D. student in Tulane University’s Economic Analysis Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories OneGulf Voyage Gathers Unprecedented Marine Samples for Two Oil Spills 3699a

An international science team recently completed a 4,000-mile expedition to learn more about the long-term fate of two of the world’s largest subsea oil spills, the 1979 Ixtoc-I and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon. The 40-day Gulf of Mexico voyage continued their 2015 field campaign, contributing to a multi-year Gulf-wide analysis of these oil spills and Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Wetland plant-microbial-benthic ecosystem responses & mitigation strategy (Lin) Researcher Qianxin Lin

The Long-Term Impact, Recovery and Resilience: Wetland plant-microbial-benthic ecosystem responses to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and mitigation strategies promoting sustainability by P.I. Qianxin Lin, Louisiana State University The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill exposed the nation’s largest and most productive wetland estuarine environment, the Mississippi River Delta coastal wetland ecosystem, to an unprecedented potential Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Can Bacteria Living in Plant Tissues Help Clean Up Oiled Marshes? Postdoc Brittany Bernik strains marsh mud through a screen to prepare it for greenhouse experiments at Tulane University. (Photo by Sunshine Van Bael)

Living inside the roots and leaf tissues of marsh grass are bacteria and fungi known as endophytes that help promote plant growth. Since some endophytes can also help degrade petroleum that the plants absorb, it is possible they could be a natural tool to help clean up oil buried in marsh soils. The Gulf of Read More

Teachers and Students Science at the Stadium Scores Big with Game-Day Attendees Graduate student Fanny Girard (left) joins game-day fans at the ECOGIG-II Ocean Discovery Zone. The coral banner makes a beautiful photo backdrop! (Photo by ECOGIG-II)

Scientists and education staff have tapped into a novel venue – football games – to reach new audiences and share ongoing research and ocean technology. The research consortium Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf II (ECOGIG II), funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), took their mobile Ocean Discovery Read More

Teachers and Students Join the 2017 NOAA Teacher-at-Sea Program Teacher-at-Sea 2017

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s Education and Engagement Team is pleased to announce NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program will accept applications for 2017 starting in November. Applications and references are accepted only through an online application system from November 1 – 30, 2016. The application closes at 5:00 pm ET on November 30. Until then, interested applicants should: 1. Visit Read More

Student ActivitiesTeachers and Students C-IMAGE Releases One Gulf Expedition Photos and Videos One Gulf Expedition - C-IMAGE

C-IMAGE Releases One Gulf Expedition Photos and Videos From 2 Aug-10 Sept, 20 researchers from the C-IMAGE Consortium circumnavigated the Gulf of Mexico studying fish toxicity between 20-180 fathoms (36-330m). The science crew caught 2,442 fish through 69 demersal long-lining stations. Over 600 photos documenting the expedition’s equipment, crew, and research activities are now available Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Oil Spill Transport in a Coupled Wind-Wave Current Environment (Drennan) Researcher William Drennan

The Investigation of Oil Spill Transport in a Coupled Wind-Wave Current Environment Using Simulation and Laboratory Studies project is lead by P.I. William M. Drennan, University of Miami. This project aims at studying the transport of oil droplets in upper oceans subject to actions of Langmuir cells and breaking waves and the transport of oiled Read More

Teachers and Students Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program Seminar seminar

Sept 27, Long Beach, MS: Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program Seminar   Titled Building resilient communities: Lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, this seminar will identify traits that made communities more resilient after the oil spill, discuss programs and resources available to communities, and share lessons learned in overcoming disasters and identify ways Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Max Weber Fishes for Insight into Deep-Pelagic Fish Taxonomy Max removes tissue from a fish for future genetic analysis aboard the RV Point Sur. (Provided by Max Weber)

There are hundreds of deep-pelagic fish species in the Gulf of Mexico, but we know very little about their taxonomy, diversity, and population sizes. Max Weber plans to catch fifteen individual specimens of each of the 500 known deep-sea Gulf fish species to help us better understand these organisms and how the Deepwater Horizon oil Read More

GoMRI Students ACER Grad Student Presents Research at 2016 AES Meeting Emily Seubert’s presentation at the American Elasmobranch Society

Emily Seubert’s presentation at the American Elasmobranch Society meeting focused on her hypothesis that the species and functional diversity of apex and mesopredators can impact an ecosystem’s resiliency following a natural disaster. Emily has also been collecting tissue samples from her catch for stable isotope analysis, which will give insight to the short term and Read More

GoMRI ScientistsVideo and Podcasts Exquisite Mud: A History Book of the Gulf of Mexico (Dispatches from the Gulf) Dispatches_Logo

A team of researchers from the University of South Florida uses a multi-corer to obtain deep sediment cores from the Gulf of Mexico. Back in the lab, they analyze the layers of sediment and build a history of the Gulf, with Deepwater Horizon being the latest chapter. Featuring oceanographers David Hollander, Isabel Romero, and Patrick Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Synergistic Dispersant & Herding Systems using Tubular Clay & Gel Phase (John) Researcher John Vjay

The Design of Synergistic Dispersant and Herding Systems using Tubular Clay Structures and Gel Phase Materials project is lead by P.I. Vijay John, Tulane University. Dispersants are typically solutions containing one or more surfactants dissolved in a solvent. They work by reducing the interfacial tension between oil and water, thereby reducing the work needed to Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Improving How Oil Spill Models Predict Plume Dispersion and Transport A Large Eddy Simulation of oil droplet (color contours) and gas bubble (white lines) plumes emerging from 1500 m below the surface into a stratified ocean, including 3D Coriolis force and west-to-east current effects. (Simulation performed by Dr. Di Yang, University of Houston)

Deep ocean oil plumes that formed from the Deepwater Horizon spill and their subsequent rise through the water column were greatly influenced by physical mixing mechanisms such as turbulence, Langmuir circulations, and sub-mesoscale eddies. These mixing processes are crucial variables needed for existing models to accurately predict a plume’s overall size, shape, and transport direction. Read More

GoMRI ScientistsVideo and Podcasts The CSI Effect: Using Forensics to Study Oil Spills (Dispatches from the Gulf) Dispatches_Logo

Coupling the “crime scene” forensic idea with the idiom of geology creates the following premise: “the present is the key to the past, but the past provides a window into the future.” Researchers are using chemical forensics to predict how the Deepwater Horizon Event will transpire over the decades to come. Featuring David Hollander (University Read More

Student ActivitiesTeachers and StudentsVideo and Podcasts Dispatches From the Gulf – 50 Short Videos Dispatches From the Gulf

“Dispatches from the Gulf” is a multi-media initiative that investigates the environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico six years after the Deepwater Horizon blowout on April 20, 2010. That’s when the world’s ninth largest body of water became a place where thousands of communities and millions of citizens were put in jeopardy by a Read More

Lesson PlansTeachers and Students DEEPEND Blog Introduces Kids to Bioacoustics 24 hr Vertical Migration Pattern of the Deep Scattering Layer in N. Gulf of Mexico

Another one of the key components to the DEEPEND research is the collection of sound data! It’s called bio-acoustics and it’s another form of taking data that turns sounds into pictures for us to see! Ben, from Florida International University, was on the last cruise working the acoustics and was able to use the data Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Biodegradation & ecosystem recovery in coastal marine sediments (Huettel) Researcher Markus Huettel

Markus Huettel gives an overview of the project at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference January 2016 The A systems approach to improve predictions of biodegradation and ecosystem recovery in coastal marine sediments impacted by oil spill project is lead by P.I. Markus Huettel, Florida State University. After coastal oil spills, Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Sun Uses Sun Glint to Assess Oil Spills  Shaojie presents his research on sun glint requirements for oil film detection at the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Conference in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Chuanmin Hu)

Those who have ever photographed the ocean on a sunny day have likely noticed how the reflected sunlight made the water gleam, often distorting the image. Shaojie Sun has quantified this phenomenon, called “sun glint,” to help address a longstanding limitation in scientists’ ability to assess oil seeps and spills using satellite imagery. Shaojie is Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Boyette Maps Plankton to Better Understand the Nearshore Environment Adam Boyette retrieves a glider on the deck of the R/V Point Sur, where he served as chief scientist on the three-day cruise examining the impacts of the Bonnet Carré spillway opening. (Photo by Alison Deary)

Microscopic organisms called plankton, an important component of the marine food web, congregate in the freshwater-laden coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Adam Boyette wants to learn more about how and where these plankton live to better understand how an oil spill or other disaster might impact their populations. He is collaborating with Read More

GoMRI ScientistsVideo and Podcasts Meet Nancy Rabalais: Focusing on Coastal Ecosystems Dispatches_Logo

Professor Nancy Rabalais (LUMCON) and her team focus their research on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on coastal ecosystems – particularly the Louisiana wetlands and marshes. The creators of award-winning environmental series Journey to Planet Earth (hosted by Matt Damon) present Dispatches from the Gulf – an upcoming documentary film and educational Read More

Student ActivitiesTeachers and Students Fostering a love of learning – CARTHE Outreach colorful drift cards

CARTHE teamed up with Project Give Kids (PGkids) to expose a bright group of foster kids, ranging in age from 1st grade to high school, to the amazing world of marine science. The students started the day with CARTHE outreach manager, Laura Bracken, who taught them about ocean currents and enlisted their help in painting drift cards Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Bringing Marine Snow to the Oil Transport Forecast A photograph of oil-marine snow aggregates at the water’s surface in the Gulf of Mexico, May 2011. (Photo by Andrew Warren)

Evidence suggests that when oil interacts with particles in the marine environment, it can form larger, rapidly sinking particles called marine snow. These oily aggregates are often transported from the sea surface to the seafloor. The snow falls more like a heavy blizzard than a light flurry for large discharges such as the Deepwater Horizon Read More

GoMRI Students CWC Releases 2016 LEAD Camp Photos 2016 LEAD Camp Participants and collected periwinkle snails. (Photo Credits: CWC)

LEAD Camp 2016 Highlights on Facebook… The science-based discovery camp provided campers with knowledge about and experience with Louisiana’s coastal and marine environments through hands-on field and lab work conducted alongside actual researchers, such as this project measuring and labeling periwinkle snails.

GoMRI StudentsStudent Activities ECOGIG Researchers Host STEMSEAS Students 2016 STEM SEAS students in front of the R/V Endeavor, the night before they left on their transit. Welcome aboard! Photo courtesy of STEM SEAS.

Ten undergraduate students and two faculty with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS)program joined the R/V Endeavor’s journey from Moorhead, NC, to Gulfport, MS, to learn more about the consortium and oceanographic research. The students will blog from the ship about their experiences. The STEMSEAS Facebook page will be very active during the Read More

GoMRI StudentsPublication Highlights Study Compares Natural Sunlight Effects on Macondo and Surrogate Oil University of West Florida Associate Professor in Chemistry, Pam Vaughan (far right), mentors undergraduate students Cynthia McCord and Michelle Waters in determining photochemical degradation and relative toxicity of MC252 and Surrogate oil water accommodated fractions. (Photo credit: Michael Spooneybarger)

Scientists developed the first molecular-level comparison of photochemical effects on surrogate and Macondo (MC252) oil to better understand this weathering process and the toxicity mechanisms it produces. The team observed increased nitrogen in surrogate oil’s response to sunlight and oxidation across a wider range of carbon numbers than MC252. Solar exposure inhibited microbial production in Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch StoriesVideo and Podcasts GoMRI RFP-V: Horse fly populations & food web dynamics as stress indicators on coastal marsh (Foil) 3368

Claudia Husseneder gives an overview of the project at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference January 2016 A Study of horse fly (Tabanidae) populations and their food web dynamics as indicators of the effects of environmental stress on coastal marsh health project is lead by P.I. Lane Foil, Louisiana State University Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Investigating How Complex Deepwater Topography Influences Oil Dispersion 3207a

    The active environment of the Gulf of Mexico’s continental slope contains diverse currents that are difficult to simulate and predict. We know that turbulence is an essential mechanism for hydrocarbon transport and subsurface oil plume dispersion, but we still have much to learn about the complex processes behind this area’s diverse currents. The Read More

GoMRI Students Get to Know Simeon Pesch: C-IMAGE II’s July 2016 Student of the Month Simeon Pech C-IMAGE Student

The behavior and mechanics of deep sea plumes is been studied using samples of liquid oil, “dead oil,” expelled from nozzles to view turbulence in the plume and estimate how the droplets distribute in sub-surface and surface plumes. But how does a mixture of oil and gases, like methane and known as “live oil,” change droplet Read More

GoMRI Students Meet Cameron and Oscar, two undergrads that have been working with ADDOMEx Undergrads at work

Cameron Jackson, a sophomore, is studying marine biology Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) and Oscar Agueda is a senior who will be getting his degree in marine science (TAMUG); both students are minoring in chemistry. When asked about career aspirations they stated that they hoped to go on to graduate school. “I want to Read More

Fact SheetsGoMRI Scientists Meet CWC Outreach Member Ann Hayward Walker Ann Hayward Walker

Ann Hayward Walker coordinates outreach between the Coastal Waters Consortium (CWC) scientists and spill-affected communities to help integrate scientific findings into response decisions. Her efforts have included leading two multi-disciplinary oil spill and dispersant risk communication research projects. See below link to learn more about her background, goals, and the challenges and rewards of communicating Read More

GoMRI ScientistsVideo and Podcasts It Got Complicated (Dispatches from the Gulf) Dispatches_Logo

Professor Will Patterson and Oceanographer Joe Tarnecki – both with Dauphin Island Sea Lab – use an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) to measure the impact of oil and dispersants on reef habitats. They’ve been studying the northern Gulf of Mexico for the last decade, so they have an abundance of data from the pre-spill environment. Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Identifying Effective, Food-Grade Dispersants for the Future 3207

Oil spill responders currently have the option to treat oil spills with a synthetic dispersant called Corexit, however scientists continue to search for alternatives. In this search, scientists seek to develop an understanding of the specific mechanisms that drive dispersion and identify an effective combination of food-grade components. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Read More

GoMRI StudentsPublication Highlights Study Examines Sediment East of Deepwater Horizon for Oil-Associated Marine Snow  Eckerd College students transferring a multicore from a collection barrel to a working barrel aboard the R/V Weatherbird II, June 2011. (Photo provided by Gregg Brooks)

Scientists analyzed sea floor sediment in the Gulf of Mexico’s DeSoto Canyon region to investigate potential oil spill impacts. Evidence from sedimentological, geochronological, geochemical, and biological sources pointed to a rapid, 4-5 month sedimentation event in late 2010. The sediment’s top centimeter was distinct from underlying compositions, with deposited particles originating from the sea surface. Read More

Student ActivitiesTeachers and Students CARTHE and DROPPS Scientists Team Up for UT Summer Science Program 3163

DROPPS Consortium had another successful collaboration with CARTHE for the UT Summer Science program! We taught 3rd-4th graders about how oil spill scientists sometimes use drift cards to study oil spills to see where currents may carry the oil. Then they designed their own scientific drift cards and tossed them off the UT Pier! Stay Read More

GoMRI Students Meet C-IMAGE Student of the Month Marcia Trillo 3146

Our Near-field and far-field modeling group is working to recreate oil spills under varying conditions. Applying strong currents and adding dispersants which changes droplet sizes in computer models can make predicting their eventual fate easier. Marcia Trillo, a M.S. student studying in Dr. Claire Paris’ lab, is helping answer questions about oi-water interactions. Marcia is the Read More

GoMRI ScientistsTeachers and Students CONCORDE’s Mission to Mentor Young Scientists Apparent in Spring Campaign and Beyond 3141

Two postdocs, Ali Deary and Adam Greer, took turns as Chief Scientist aboard the R/V Point Sur during the recent Spring Campaign, while three others—Kemal Cambazoglu, Sabrina Parra, and Inia Soto-Ramos—devised the cruise plan for the R/V Pelican. Earlier in the year PhD student Adam Boyette organized and led a research cruise to study the Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Digging Up the Mechanisms of Buried Oil Degradation 3114a

Spilled oil buried in nearshore sediment can persist for many years and act as a long-term source of episodic hydrocarbon contamination in the environment. Although we have a basic understanding of how fast crude oil degrades in soils, we still do not fully understand what influences the degradation process or the microbial community responsible for Read More

GoMRI Scientists Arezoo Ardekani Receives PECASE 3124a

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative congratulates one of its own – Dr. Arezoo Motavalizadeh Ardekani, an assistant professor at Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering – for receiving the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Ardekani, a co-principal investigator with the RFP-V project Role of Microbial Motility for Degradation of Read More

Teachers and Students Teacher-At-Sea Chronicles DEEPEND Cruise 3086

Christia Hewlett was the official Teacher-At-Sea during the consortium’s most recent research cruise. She documented the equipment, experiences, and even the researchers on board for the DEEPEND blog. You can find all of her posts about the cruise here. “I hope that I will be able to take back what I have learned and share Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Tang Studies Whale Populations’ Oil Spill Recovery 3019a

When disaster strikes, responders look at how creatures in its path may be impacted to mitigate damage. Tingting Tang takes the process one step further, using mathematical models to predict how long recovery may take. The creatures that Tingting focuses on are some of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest predators and most charismatic animals, beaked Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Unraveling the Mystery of Oil Compounds, Weathering, and Toxicity 3071a

Responders to the Deepwater Horizon spill used large quantities of dispersant to facilitate oil biodegradation, but could a different method be safer for the environment? Oil compounds take on additional oxygen atoms as physical and chemical processes weather them. However, the classical methods that scientists use to analyze and describe these molecular compositional changes cannot Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Using Luminescent Radiation to Describe “Forgotten” PAHs 3049a

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with high molecular weights (HMW-PAHs) are potentially toxic compounds that can cause genetic mutations. However, current environmental monitoring and analyses of human health risks only focus on the sixteen PAHs that the Environmental Protection Agency considers priority pollutants. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative awarded Dr. Andres D. Campiglia a grant to Read More

GoMRI Scientists Meet the Scientists of the Coastal Waters Consortium (CWC-I and CWC-II) CWC small logo

The first three years of Coastal Waters Consortium (CWC-I) began September 2011 and ended December 2015. The second three years of Costal Waters Consortium (CWC-II) began January 1, 2015 and extends until the end of December 2017. Meet some of the many researchers up-close and personal in the following links: CWC-I Scientist Spotlights CWC-II Scients Read More

GoMRI Students Grad Student Jaggi Seeks Solution to World’s Clean Water Shortage 3031a

As a child in India, Aprami Jaggi witnessed firsthand how polluted water sources impact society. Her desire to make water remediation her life’s work has led her from Delhi to Calgary, Canada, to study oil mitigation. There she combines geochemistry and geophysics to hunt for scientific answers and practical solutions to the worldwide water pollution Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Now Available: Hydrocarbon Intercalibration Experiment Reports 3027

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is pleased to announce the release of two reports detailing the results of the Hydrocarbon Intercalibration Experiment (HIE). The first report, the Summary of Results from the 2014/2015 Hydrocarbon Intercalibration Experiment (HIE), provides an overview of all test results involved in the experiment. The second report, the2014/2015 Hydrocarbon Read More

GoMRI Scientists Franklin Institute in Philidelphia, PA hosted a Pixar themed “Science After Hours” event on May 23rd, in celebration of the upcoming movie “Finding Dory.” Dr. Erik Cordes and his wife, Brooke Cordes, at the Science After Hours event (Image provided by ECOGIG)

The Franklin Institute in Philidelphia, PA hosted a Pixar themed “Science After Hours” event on May 23, 2016, in celebration of the upcoming movie “Finding Dory.” Dr. Erik Cordes, one of ECOGIG’s deep sea coral experts, participated in the hands on event for the 21 and over crowd. The Science After Hours program is an Read More

GoMRI ScientistsResearch Stories Assessing Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Impacts on Families and Children 3006

Immediately following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness surveyed households in highly-affected Louisiana areas to track the event’s health and social impacts. Follow up studies in 2014 revealed that physical and mental distress resulting from the spill still persisted, with over 15% of respondents reporting no perceived recovery of their Read More