GOMRI Synthesis and Legacy

GoMRI was established in 2010 with the stated goal to improve society’s ability to understand, respond to, and mitigate the impacts of petroleum pollution and related stressors of the marine and coastal ecosystems. As we approach 2020 and the conclusion 10 years of GoMRI’s investment in research, the Research Board has shifted focus towards achieving comprehensive scientific synthesis centered around the answers to 5 key questions and established and cementing the GoMRI legacy.  

5 Key Questions

  • What was the state of the science (“baseline”) before Deepwater Horizon?
  • What have we learned?  (Critical assessment)
  • What major gaps in knowledge still exist?
  • How can we best apply what we have learned?  (What will be the impact – how do we make a difference?)
  • Where do we go from here?

Synthesis Objectives and Mission

The overarching goal of the GoMRI’s Synthesis and Legacy effort is to document scientific achievements and advances, with the idea that synthesis will lead to new understanding.  This synthesis effort will include knowledge exchange with the user community, including oil spill responders, and will explore the transferability of knowledge to other geographic locations and scenarios.   

GoMRI Synthesis consists of the convergence of two parallel efforts – the “top down” is INITIATED by the Research Board – but is DRIVEN by the COMMUNITY. The “bottom up” is led and organized by the GoMRI Research Consortia and the extensive network of experts each has established. Though a series of workshops and subsequent publications, special issues, and presentations, GoMRI expects to be able to answer the five key questions across each of eight identified Core Areas at the conclusion of the initiative.


8 Core Areas

The Research Board as been in the unique position to observe the evolution of GoMRI from the very beginning. To best capture a comprehensive top down scientific synthesis from the 10 years of GoMRI’s investment in research, a Synthesis and Legacy (S&L) committee was established and subsequently identified eight Core Areas of focus and a set of universal guiding principles to maintain consistency throughout this synthesis effort. 

  • Core Area 1 – Plume & Circulation Observations & Modeling
  • Core Area 2 – Fate of Oil & Weathering: Biological & Physical-chemical Degradation
  • Core Area 3 – Ecological/Ecosystem Impacts
  • Core Area 4 – Human Health and  Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Core Area 5 – Ecosystem Services, Human Health and Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Core Area 6 – Microbiology, Metagenomics & Bioinformatics
  • Core Area 7- Integrated/Linked Modeling System  
  • Core Area 8- Knowledge Exchange with User Communities: Lessons Learned and Operational Advice

While the first four Core Areas closely map the GoMRI research themes, Core Areas 5,7, and 8 largely focus on how to apply research and knowledge gained to the operational and user communities. Core Area 6 was identified to synthesize and capture the multitude of advancements in Microbiology, Metagenomics, and Bioinformatics since GoMRI began.

Many additional Synthesis and Legacy questions can be answered by visiting the FAQ page.