GoMRI Scientists

Study Finds Clay Nanotubes Yield More Efficient Oil-Water Emulsions than Spherical Particles Addition (spray) of natural clay nantubes (a) to oil spill spot coverts to tiny microdroplet coated with the nanoclay (b-c) which are stable in water (d). These microdroplets can be easier biodgraded. Image provided by Yuri Lvov.

  Researchers assessed various structures of clay nanotubes or halloysites, which are being studied for their potential in oil spill emulsification. They tested the nanotubes to identify which structures generated the most stable emulsions and smallest oil droplets and if catalytic reactions improved at the oil-water interface. The team found that nanotubes between .4 and Read More

Study Describes How Marine Particle Aggregates Influence Oil Spill Fate Evan Variano (left) along with doctoral students Madeline Foster (middle) and Kimberly Hyunh (right) is continuing this research with a focus on sediment processes in wetlands.

Researchers analyzed simulated interactions of oil droplets and marine particle aggregates to understand how they could affect the behavior of an oil spill. The scientists found that the attachment of oil droplets to particle aggregates changed the distribution of oil droplet sizes over time scales of hours. As oil droplet sizes got larger, a greater Read More

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

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

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

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

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

Study Describes How Autonomous Surface Vehicles Improve Marine Mammal Monitoring An autonomous surface vehicle (ASV C-Worker 6) conducts passive acoustic monitoring in the northern Gulf of Mexico, summer 2017. Photo credit: Chris Pierpoint, LADC-GEMM consortium

Scientists conducted passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) of whales in the northern Gulf of Mexico using two autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) capable of recording marine mammal sounds. The researchers observed that ASVs required fewer personnel and created less noise compared to research vessels. ASVs provided a novel, cost-efficient, and quiet approach and expanded the range of Read More

Study Develops Biogeographic Classification of the World’s Deep Oceans Study author Tracey Sutton, Principal Investigator of the DEEPEND consortium and professor of marine and environmental sciences at NOVA Southeastern University, prepares nets on a recent DEEPEND research cruise, exploring the exceptional diversity of the deep northern Gulf of Mexico. Picture provided by DEEPEND.

An interdisciplinary panel of 23 experts in oceanography, ecology, physics, and geospatial-mapping combined their knowledge of pelagic faunal distribution patterns to create a biogeographic map of the world’s deep oceans. The panel identified 33 distinct mesopelagic (200-1000 meters depth) ecoregions that reflect regional variation of biodiversity and function. The Gulf of Mexico is one of Read More

Modelling Study Demonstrates Dispersants Lowered Health Risks during Oil Spill Scientific responders from the University of California Santa Barbara and the Texas A&M University collect samples near the Deepwater Horizon site. Photo by David L. Valentine, UC Santa Barbara.

Scientists used data collected during the Deepwater Horizon spill to validate a model simulation of the physical and chemical behavior of oil and gas rising from the wellhead to the ocean surface. Using scenarios of dispersant and no-dispersant use, the model indicated that dispersant injection reduced the emission of several toxic compounds by 28% in the atmosphere, Read More

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.

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!

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

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

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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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

Study Identifies Oil Carbons Associated with Deepwater Horizon in Terrestrial Birds A Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus) in the salt marshes. (Photo by Andrea Bonisoli Alquati)

Scientists analyzed the carbon composition in Seaside Sparrow tissues to learn if oil from the 2010 spill was incorporated into the terrestrial food web. The researchers found reduced radiocarbon and stable carbon concentration levels in the feathers of birds captured at oiled sites compared with birds from non-oiled sites, which is consistent with a fossil Read More

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

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

CONCORDE Hosts Third Fisherman-Scientist Bridge Building Workshop 4465

Approximately 15 local fishermen and their families attended the workshop to meet the scientists and voice their concern about topics such as sediment and marine snow. The fishermen also learned how to use the YSI ProDSSII conductivity/temperature-depth meter (CTD) to collect depth salinity and temperature profiles. They will continue collecting and returning data through the Read More

Study Expands Analytical Window for Marine and Oil Spill Chemistry Tesla Petroleomics Centre at the University of Calgary. Bruker SolariX FTICR-MS is shown at the right hand side. From R-L: Dr. Jagos Radovic, Postdoctoral Fellow; Melisa Brown, FTICR-MS analyst; Ryan Snowdon, IT specialist; Aprami Jaggi, PhD student; Dr. Stephen Larter, Professor; Dr. Thomas Oldenburg, Adjunct Professor (Photo credit: Chloe Duong).

Scientists tested a new analytical method for a fast and comprehensive characterization of organic compounds in marine sediments. The Rapid Analyte Detection and Reconnaissance (RADAR) method couples atmospheric pressure photoionization in positive ion mode (APPI-P) with Fourier transform ion cyclotron mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS). Twelve minutes of analysis provided a simultaneous detection and identification of thousands Read More

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

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!

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

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!

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

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

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 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 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

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

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

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 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 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 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

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.

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

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 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

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 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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Acoustics to Monitor Oil and Gas from Deep Natural Seafloor Seeps 2784a

There is a lot of action at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. A turbulent mixed layer of water and sediment particles known as the bottom boundary layer circulates counterclockwise across the seafloor, flowing against the water above. Meanwhile, oil and gas naturally seep into this active environment from the seafloor. Scientists are investigating Read More

LASER Focus Advances Knowledge of How Gulf of Mexico Water Moves 2758a_sm

CARTHE conducts unprecedented experiment to improve oil fate models. Predictions for decisions – our world relies on them, from daily weather to annual financial forecasts. Predictions, though, are only as good as the information that goes into making them. And those predictions carry even more weight when they involve human safety in situations like storm Read More

What Can Horse Flies Tell Us About Marsh Health? 2718a

Greenhead horse fly larvae live in Spartina marshes and are the top predator in the coastal wetlands invertebrate food chain between Texas and Nova Scotia. Drs. Lane Foil and Claudia Husseneder discovered reduced genetic variation and severe declines in adult and larval horse fly populations living in oiled marshes, which showed that the horse flies Read More

What inspired these people to become scientists? Why Science

What inspired these people to become scientists? Everyone has a different path. What led to your interest in science? Share you thoughts at: “Dispatches from the Gulf” is a new Journey to Planet Earth episode showing how scientists confront the challenges of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The documentary also investigates the impact of the Read More

Meet Steve Murawski Meet Steve Murawski

Meet Steve Murawski, researcher with C-IMAGE and the University of South Florida, uses longline fishing to sample fish communities and track their recovery post-Deepwater Horizon event. “Dispatches from the Gulf” is a new Journey to Planet Earth episode showing how scientists confront the challenges of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The documentary also investigates the Read More

A Day in the Life of a DROPPSter drops logo

New DROPPS Researchers at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute The New Year brings new talent to the Dispersion Research on Oil: Physics and Plankton Studies (DROPPS) consortia! Since last fall, DROPPS has added three new post-doctoral researchers and one PhD student to the team at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI). Read More

Creating Improved Dispersants and Delivery Systems for Oil Spill Mitigation 2592a300

Research about commercial dispersant safety has seen increased efforts to identify benign alternatives and improve current dispersant systems since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Preliminary research suggests that dispersants formulated as gels may be a viable alternative to liquid dispersants and may address certain problems and concerns about Corexit 9500 use and application. The Gulf Read More

CARTHE Blogs Document Researchers’ At-Sea Lifestyle 2427

Graduate student Nathan Laxague’s recent posts to the CARTHE blog describe the methods, experiences, and challenges of researchers working on the ongoing LASER expedition. You can read his entries here and here to keep up with the project’s development.   Excerpt from the CARTHE Blog….  “… Walton Smith is somewhere off the middle Keys, dressed to the nines with fancy Read More

Meet CWC Researcher Chuck Wall wall_2230

Chuck Wall has a B.A. in Biology and Environmental studies from Williams College, and a Ph.D. in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences from Stony Brook University. He studies the salt marsh habitat and the community of benthic organisms that live in the salt marsh, such as worms, snails, mussels, and small crustaceans. He is comparing marsh Read More

Understanding How Deepwater Horizon Affected Fishing Community Decisions fishing_communities_2187

Authorities closed large portions of the Gulf of Mexico to commercial and recreational fishing following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to contain and mitigate oil contamination of fish and seafood products. The fishing closures may have caused many fishers to search for alternative income solutions, such as relocating or chartering their vessels for the cleanup Read More

Understanding Coastal Ecosystems Response to Environmental Stress Acer_Env_Stress_2193

ACER investigates biodiversity’s role in oil spill recovery Disturbances to coastal environments, such as storms and pollution, cause great concern as these areas are typically heavily populated, are home to important industries, and provide critical ecosystem services. Ecologists have debated coastal ecosystems response to disturbances for decades. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill focused this debate Read More

Smithsonian Highlights How Scientists Use Genomics to Study Oil Spills genomics_2206

Genomics is a powerful method to track things that humans cannot see. Months and years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, many people wondered where the oil went or where it might be lingering or what it may affect after it was no longer visible. Scientists are using genomic techniques such as DNA sequencing to Read More

How Scientists are Monitoring the Harmful Algal Bloom Algal_Bloom_2166

It’s a catchy name, but the common phrase “Red Tide” for the algal bloom happening right now in the northern Gulf of Mexico is not quite right, scientifically. The bloom is not always red and it’s not always related to tides. However, the name does invoke a sense of concern about a potential threat to Read More

ECOGIG researchers named ASLO sustaining fellows ASLO fellows_2076

ECOGIG researchers Dr. Samantha Joye (University of Georgia) and Dr. Uta Passow (University of Santa Barbara) were recently named Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) sustaining fellows. The ASLO Fellows program was initiated in 2015 to honor ASLO members who have advanced the aquatic sciences via their exceptional contributions to the benefit of Read More

GoMRI Interview with Dr. Debra Murie 2645

Dr. Debra Murie from the University of Florida answered a few questions about her RFPII project, Spatial and Temporal Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Growth and Productivity of Recreational and Commercial Fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The PIs on the project, in addition to Dr. Murie, are Dr. Daryl Parkyn and Dr. Read More

Understanding Oil Transport in Coastal Waters Understanding Oil Transport

CONCORDE studies sub-surface exposure pathways After the Deepwater Horizon incident, the coastline oiling that occurred raised questions about oil movement and impact. For example, before a surface slick reached land, was there oil below the surface waters and how might that affect coastal environments and organisms? The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative recently awarded CONCORDE Read More

Smithsonian Highlights Oil Spill Research on Jellyfish Jellyfish_1318

Jellyfish push water in and out of their bells to propel themselves forward. Researchers are investigating if and how the small underwater waves and currents created by Jellyfish movements can help break up oil spilled in marine ecosystems. The Smithsonian posted an article featuring scientist Brad Gemmell’s research about interactions of gelatinous zooplankton with oil. Read More

Smithsonian’s Five Questions with Biological Oceanographer Uta Passow Uta Passow hopes to better understand the movement of carbon in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo Credit: ECOGIG)

Phytoplankton are active organic carbon producers and help drive the processes that move carbon from the ocean surface to the sea floor. Scientists are investigating impacts from the sudden large input of carbon from the Deepwater Horizon spill on this important biological cycle. The Smithsonian Ocean Portal recently featured Uta Passow with the University of Read More

Smithsonian Features GoMRI Research on Methane-Eating Microbes Methane bubbles rise through a bed of mussels near the Pascagoula Dome. (Image courtesy of the NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program)

During the Deepwater Horizon incident, both oil and methane entered the surrounding marine environment from the Macondo reservoir. Scientists are investigating the released methane’s effects on deep-sea ecosystems. The Smithsonian published a story featuring the work of three GoMRI scientists – Samantha Joye, Jeff Chanton, and Frank Hernandez – who are examining microbes that feed on Read More

Tracking Marine Mammal Recovery after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill LADC-GEMM

LADC-GEMM studies acoustic signals in spill vicinityDid whale and dolphin populations change after the oil spill? Prior monitoring indicated that large numbers of these deep-diving marine mammals were living near the Deepwater Horizon site. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative recently awarded the LADC-GEMM consortium a grant to study endangered sperm whales, beaked whales, and Read More

A Match Made in Florida: Citizens and Scientists Team Up for Research and Education 2138a

What do CARTHE, the International SeaKeepers Society, and Fleet Miami have in common? Ocean research! Last September, CARTHE researchers from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School partnered with SeaKeepers and Fleet Miami to widen the reach of ocean and oil spill research in the local community. The alliance led a three-day expedition aboard a 54-foot Read More

Perspectives from the GoMRI Research Board Perspectives of GoMRI Research Board

BP put in place $500 million for research shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to understand the impacts from this incident and improve response to future events. But it would take much more than money to establish an independent research program that fulfills the highest scientific standards and meets the needs of various stakeholders. Read More

What Does ECOGIG Do?

Scientists aboard the research vessels R/V Endeavor and E/V Nautilus briefly describe the nature of the work of ECOGIG in this Finch Productions, LLC video.