Research Stories

Teachers Participate in ECOGIG Research Expedition 4896

Two Georgia middle school teachers recently joined a consortium research cruise through the AMP-IT-UP (Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Integrated to Unlock Potential) program, a multi-year grant focused on cultivating the next generation of STEM innovators.  Learn more about the program and the educators’ experiences here.

DEEPEND Highlighted on Oregon Coast Aquarium Oceanscape Network 4892

The deep is by far the largest affected habitat from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Join diverse scientists as they continue their long-term investigation on impacts of this environmental disaster on the deep-sea from December 4 to 8, 2017. Creep Into the DEEPEND is a WhaleTimes, Inc. Virtual Research Mission, in cooperation with the Read More

ECOGIG Scientists Embark on “Jewels of the Gulf” Research Cruise 4493

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

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

A Brittle Sea Star May be a Coral’s Best Friend Brittle sea stars cling to deep sea coral. Photo Credit: ECOGIG

Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal recently released a new article in partnership with the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) consortium called A Brittle Sea Star May be a Coral’s Best Friend. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, ECOGIG researchers began studying the impacts of oil on deep sea corals. They noticed a Read More

RECOVER Enlists Professional Anglers for Mahi Tagging Experiment RECOVER

This RECOVER Consortium experiment uses satellite tags attached to adult mahi to help determine if consortium experiments could be replicated in the wild. Experienced anglers can help increase the amount of fish researchers catch in a day and reduce stressful fight times on the line to ensure that the tagged fish are as healthy as Read More

CARTHE Prepares for Year Two of Bay Drift Project CARTHE Consortium spent the day celebrating one successful year of the citizen science project #baydrift at Vizcaya museum and Gardens in Miami.

The Bay Drift Project is a citizen-science experiment that uses drift cards to help determine the origins of the trash that washes up on the Vizcaya Museum and Garden’s shoreline. CARTHE Consortium representatives and Vizcaya hosted an event to highlight results from the project’s first year and to prepare drift cards and identify goals for Read More

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

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

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

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

CARTHE and Waterlust Release “The Motion of the Ocean” Video 4565

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

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

Science at Sea: SPLASH Experiment Improves Predictions for Oil Moving toward Shore

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

Beneath the Horizon: A Web Resource for the 1979 and 2010 Oil Spills A map of the Gulf of Mexico that shows the Deepwater Horizon and Ixtoc spills. Image provided by C-IMAGE

Scientists and outreach personnel created an on-line resource that examines two major oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico: The Deepwater Horizon in the northern Gulf and the Ixtoc in the southern Gulf. Beneath the Horizonwebsite, developed by the C-IMAGE research group and Jake Price Productions, explores these spills, the people who coped with and responded to these disasters, and expectations for 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

LADC-GEMM Releases Drone Footage of Cruise 4545

The consortium’s recent visual and acoustic survey of the northern Gulf of Mexico assessed changes in marine mammal distribution and ambient noise levels following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The short clip follows the R/V Pelican as it surveys the area. Watch the video here.

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

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

CARTHE Drifter Study Tracks Oil Near Mississippi Delta Platform Leak 4536

The team coordinated with another GoMRI project led by Villy Kourafalou to conduct a unique study that observed oil’s movement using satellites, drones, and surface current drifters to improve how responders monitor and predict oil transport. Researchers focused on an oil platform just offshore the Mississippi Delta and collected unprecedented information about the way Gulf Read More

LADC-GEMM Undergraduate Student Reflects on Summer Cruise Experience 4532

Matt Firneno recently completed Bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics at the University of New Orleans. He participated in LADC-GEMM’s recent research cruise aboard R/V Pelican, where he assisted learned about different forms of data acquisition and real-time data analysis. Learn more about his research and experiences here.

CARTHE Participates in Biscayne Bay Marine Health Summit 4474

CARTHE and thousands of scientists across the world through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative have spent years studying the Gulf, but one of the most important benefits of this research is that it can be used in other water bodies to lead to better ecosystems globally. Consortium researchers met with government officials, advocates, and Read More

LADC-GEMM Blog Post Introduces “Will” the Seaglider 4506

“Will” is an underwater autonomous vehicle that will survey and collect acoustic Gulf of Mexico data for approximately eight weeks. Every four hours, the glider surfaces, relays information back to a base station at Oregon State University, and descends again to collect more information. Will is surveying and collecting acoustic data in the Gulf until Read More

Video Highlights CARTHE Collaboration to Monitor Taylor Oil Leak 4502

The expedition to the Taylor Oil leak site took place in April 2017 and involved joint field operations between CARTHE researchers and organizations including Water Mapping LLC, NOAA, NASA, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET), and MDA Corporation (Canada) to sample the Taylor Energy spill site in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of this Read More

CARTHE and NASA Team Up for Radar Validation 4474

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) DopplerScat radar is able to measure both ocean currents and wind, which influence the transport of materials in the ocean. JPL members joined CARTHE’s recent SPLASH experiment to validate the radar and expressed a desire to coordinate data exchange with CARTHE in the future. Find out more about this Read More

CARTHE Blog Highlights Drones Used in SPLASH Experiment 4468

CARTHE researchers relied on high-resolution cameras mounted to drones to track drift cards’ initial transport during the SPLASH experiment to measure currents. The acquired images are used to see how small scale surface currents behave, especially around fronts. The GPS-equipped LASER drifters collect data for 2-4 months over many kilometers, while the drones allow CARTHE Read More

DEEPEND Logs DP05 Cruise Through Kids Blog 4452

Following a short weather delay, the consortium kicked off its fifth research cruise, a two-week survey of Gulf of Mexico. The DEEPEND team has been posting updates on their progress to the project’s Kids Blog almost daily. Visit the blog to catch up on the latest news. DEEPEND Kids Blog DEEPEND Outreach

Oceanography Highlights Findings from Deepwater Horizon Research 3969

7th year of the largest coordinated research endeavor around an ocean event. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and subsequent response efforts raised concerns about impacts on the Gulf of Mexico’s ocean and coastal environments. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), in response to the spill, initiated an unprecedented 10-year scientific research program funded Read More

Using Complementary Simulations to Improve Oil Tracking under Hurricane Conditions 4041a

Interactions among wind, waves, and upper-ocean currents are essential factors in predicting oil slick transport and fate. These complex interactions, however, make capturing their dynamics in simulations challenging, especially when turbulent weather conditions are present. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative recently awarded Dr. William Drennan a grant to study how wind-wave-current interactions affect oil Read More

CWC Researchers Use GoPros to Monitor Land Loss 4122

A recent blog post describes how consortium scientists Giovanna McClenachan and R. Eugene Turner used GoPro® cameras to photograph a study site at two-hour intervals during four- to six-week periods between August 2014 and September 2015. Read about their findings here and check out the resulting time-lapse video!

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

Resiliency and Recovery Connections in Oiled Wetland Plant-Microbial-Benthic Ecosystem 3908a

Marshes depend on a healthy, well-functioning complex of plants, microbes, and benthic communities to support the environmentally and economically important ecosystem services they offer, such as reducing storm surges and providing nursery grounds for many species. Researchers have been conducting studies assessing Louisiana marsh flora and fauna after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Read More

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

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 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

Investigating Louisiana Dolphins’ Reproductive Health After Deepwater Horizon 3838a

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 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

Identifying Toxic Components in Fresh and Weathered Crude Oil 3806a

Hydrocarbons associated with oil spills can have harmful effects on humans and organisms, yet little is known about the specific compounds that contribute to toxicity. The ability to identify and quantify oil’s key toxic compounds will help improve predictions of future spills’ effects on human health and marine ecosystems. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative 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

Scientists Use Oil Spill Research to Track Pollution in Biscayne Bay The CARTHE team is receiving data from 15 biodegradable, GPS-equipped drifters. This image shows the tracks after 24 hours. (Image by CARTHE)

It’s almost like a game of tug-of-war. There are growing numbers of residents, tourists, and industry at one end and the environment where people live, work, and play at the other. When the former increases, the latter is stressed. This scenario plays out all over the world, especially in coastal areas. Biscayne Bay near Miami, 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

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

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

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

The Mud and Blood Cruise – The Whole Story (Dispatches from the Gulf) Dispatches_Logo

The Weatherbird embarks on a two-week research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Its mission is to collect and analyze fish and soil samples near the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Dave Hollander and Steve Murawski from the University of South Florida lead the team of oceanographers. The research is divided into two 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

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

ACER’s primary study site – The Chandeleur Islands 3180

Many of ACER’s field experiments are being conducted around the Chandeleur Islands. These uninhabited barrier islands lie about 60 miles east of New Orleans and 30 miles south of Biloxi, MS helping to protect eastern Louisiana from waves and storms. Landward (west) of the island chain lies Chandeleur Sound and seaward (east) lies the Gulf 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

An Ocean Oil Spill Science Legacy 3066

There have been two large scale oil spills over the past 4 decades in the Gulf of Mexico. The Ixtoc I spill in 1979 off the coast of Carmen, Mexico released 3.5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf, and the Macondo wellhead blowout off the coast of Louisiana, USA in 2010 released 3.19 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

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

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

Ten Outstanding Education Products Six Years After Deepwater Horizon 2912_sm

Communicating oil spill research is essential to improve society’s understanding about spills and their ability to respond to and mitigate them. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) has been funding spill-related research since 2010. Here are ten outstanding education products and resources that GoMRI and its science community have developed to share what they Read More

Sneak Peek Screening of Dispatches from the Gulf video_announcement

Six Years After the Largest Oil Spill in U.S. History A New Film By Marilyn & Hal Weiner. Narrated By Matt Damon. April 20, 2016 @ 2 pm & 7 pm EDT Tune to our Live Stream channel to watch: _________________________________________________________________________________ Dispatches From The Gulf investigates the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Featuring 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

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

CONCORDE Blog Informs Readers on Glider Research 2435

An update to the CONCORDE blog documents the latest deployment of the RU31 glider. Researchers Travis Miles and Oscar Schofield used the glider to document temperature, salinity, colored dissolved organic matter, density, chlorophyll, and oxygen saturation. Click here to view the blog….

ECOGIG Maps Naturally Occurring Gulf of Mexico Seeps ecogiglogo

Researchers recently developed a comprehensive analysis Gulf oil and determined how much came from natural or Deepwater Horizon sources. They used their findings to map the locations of active natural oil seeps.   For more information…  The entire paper can be found at:

Researchers Seek New Insights from Decades-Old Spill C-IMAGE_Ixtoc-I_2279a

The Ixtoc I blowout happened in the Bay of Campeche over thirty-five years ago, so why are scientists studying this spill now? Because understanding what happened to Ixtoc I oil may help predict if and how Deepwater Horizon oil will degrade, persist, and impact northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystems over the next few decades. A Read More

Discovering Vibrant, Dynamic Life in the Deep Gulf of Mexico Deepend_Melanocetus-johnsoni_Y-WEB

DEEPEND expands knowledge as a restoration tool for the Gulf’s largest ecosystem Much uncertainty remains about impacts on the deep-sea environment from the 2010 oil spill that erupted more than 5,000 feet below the sea surface. However, knowing what was affected or what may change in the future is particularly difficult with little to no Read More

CARTHE Webpage Features LASER Experiment 2378

The LAgrangian Submesoscale ExpeRiment (LASER) now has its own home on the consortium website. For information about the experiment’s design and progress, visit the LASER homepage and check out the CARTHE blog.  

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

Deep-C Helps Develop New Ocean Modelling Software opendrift_2040

A new, open source software for modeling the trajectories and fate of particles (Lagrangian Elements) drifting in the ocean, or even in the atmosphere, has been developed a the Norwegian Meteorological Institute in cooperation with the Institute of Marine Research. The software, known as OpenDrift, is a generic framework written in Python. It is openly 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

Scientists Coordinate Research with Responders in Santa Barbara Oil Spill Crews clean-up the oil using boom operations off the coast of Goleta, Calif., May 21, 2015. The clean-up operation for the spill began the evening of Tuesday May 19, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrea Anderson)

One of the most significant outcomes of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) has been the fostering of a multi-disciplinary collaborative academic community ready to put science into practice. Members of the GoMRI community have been cultivating relationships with emergency responders so that science gets to the right people at the right time. These 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

Little Critters that tell a BIG Story: Benthic Foraminifera and the Gulf Oil Spill Source: Noora Al-Meer, Flicker (

You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that produce a hard shell. These shells look like the shells you might pick up on the beach, but they are much smaller—most are Read More

GoMRI Advances Science Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill 2803a

Since August 2011, eight research consortia funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) have been working hard to understand impacts from and responses to the Deepwater Horizonincident. Their work represents the efforts of over 1,000 people, including 400 scientists and 275 graduate students, from over 100 national and international institutions. When asked about Read More

Students Are Field Tested During Emergency Response To Hercules Blowout students_hercules_2036

In the early morning hours on Monday July 23rd 2013 the Hercules 252 rig blew out, spewing a mixture of gas, condensate, and possibly other hydrocarbons into the water and air. In four days, senior scientists – members of five Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) consortia – assembled a team and plan, obtained the Read More

Deepwater Horizon, Three Years Later – August 6, 2013 The oil slick as imaged on 24 May 2010 by the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA

BP-funded research aims to understand and mitigate impacts of hydrocarbon pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. (From physicstoday / by Rachel Berkowitz) — On 20 April 2010 the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) drilling rig operating in the Mocando Prospect, a drilling block in the Gulf of Mexico, experienced a catastrophic failure that resulted in Read More

CARTHE and DEEP-C Inspire Future Scientists Left: 12-year old Kevin Telfer from Boston, MA, with the prototype drifter buoy he and a fellow science partner Harrison Reiter built and field tested for their science fair project titled, “Deployment of a Drifter Buoy in the Sudbury River: Prototype Design and Results.” (Photo by Brian Telfer) Right: High school sophomore Elizabeth Smithwick from Jacksonville, FL, collects soil samples along the St. Johns River for her science fair project titled, “The Isolation, Examination, and Comparison of Hydrocarbon Degrading Bacteria in the St. Johns River.” (Photo provided by Elizabeth Smithwick)

Scientists conducting GoMRI-funded oil spill research take their mission regarding society seriously: They employ cutting-edge technology to collect and analyze data using rigorous scientific parameters and publish their findings. But there are other ways these researchers define success, like working with students. When young students seek answers to scientific questions and contact them, these scientists Read More

MEIOFAUNA: Getting Down in the Mud 2352a

Know what meiofauna is? Most people have to look it up. Stephen Landers, professor in the Biological and Environmental Sciences department at Troy University, focuses the majority of his research on the tiny invertebrates that populate the ocean floor. Meiofauna seem to fall through the cracks, don’t they?  It is common to read about research Read More

Can an Oil Spill Make Your Genes Fat? 2407a

Obesity and other metabolic diseases are major global health issues that are generally thought to be determined by family genes. However, a growing body of science on epigenetics (heritable changes in gene function that do not involve changes in gene/DNA sequence) indicates that the environment can change trait development at the fetal stage and the Read More