Smithsonian Features Blog by Caroline Johansen on Deep Sea Oil Seeps

Graduate student Caroline Johansen is happy to have the video time-lapse camera back on the R/V Falcor after a deep-sea deployment. She will analyze the data it collected near a natural seep. Image credit: Mauricio Silva with the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

(Click to enlarge) Graduate student Caroline Johansen is happy to have the video time-lapse camera back on the R/V Falcor after a deep-sea deployment. She will analyze the data it collected near a natural seep. Image credit: Mauricio Silva with the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

There can be catastrophic results when a large amount of oil is spilled into the ocean, but did you know that many marine organisms need a little bit of oil to survive?

The Smithsonian Ocean Portal posted a guest blog by Caroline Johansen explaining how natural oil and gas seeps from the ocean floor act as a source of energy for bacteria.

Johansen is an oceanography graduate student at Florida State University working on GoMRI-funded research with the ECOGIG and Deep-C consortia. Her research is part of a broader study to understand the impacts of natural seepage versus that of abrupt, large hydrocarbon inputs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Read Johansen’s Ocean Portal blog.

For background, listen as Caroline explains in this C-PALMS video more about her research related to the dynamics of hydrocarbon vents in the Gulf of Mexico, and read about her involvement with Deep-C’s outreach in Interactive Programs Brings Oil Spill Research to Middle School Classrooms and blog Deep-C Voices from the Field.

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GoMRI and the Smithsonian have a partnership to enhance oil spill science content on the Ocean Portal website.

This research was made possible in part by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to the Ecological Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) consortium and the Deepsea to Coast Connectivity in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico (Deep-C) consortium. The GoMRI is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies.  An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research.  All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available.  The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP.  For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/

© Copyright 2010- 2017 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) – All Rights Reserved. Redistribution is encouraged with acknowledgement to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). Please credit images and/or videos as done in each article. Questions? Contact web-content editor Nilde “Maggie” Dannreuther, Northern Gulf Institute, Mississippi State University (maggied@ngi.msstate.edu).