When the Deepwater Horizon incident occurred, not much was known about how conditions in the deep sea would affect oil biodegradation. Juan Viamonte uses high-pressure reactors that simulate conditions at depth to observe microbial degradation and help predict what might happen should another deep-ocean oil spill occur.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative is pleased to announce a new Sea Grant publication about how oysters, which play a critical role in a healthy coastal wetland, fare when faced with oil exposure. The outreach publication also discusses how the Deepwater Horizon incident and subsequent response efforts affected oysters, a vital part of Louisiana’s seafood industry which is the nation’s second-largest seafood supplier.
Following the Deepwater Horizon incident, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness surveyed households in highly-affected areas of Louisiana to track the event’s impacts on the physical and social health of coastal families and their communities.
Researchers conducted experiments on Atlantic Croaker to determine if oil-induced respiratory impairment affects the fish’s tolerance to hypoxia. There were no observed effects from the combined stressors (oil exposure and hypoxia) on fish’s average critical oxygen threshold levels or its capacity to withstand hypoxia.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative congratulates Dr. Christopher “Chris” Reddy for being honored with the 2018 American Geophysical Union’s Ambassador Award.
Scientists used drifters, drones, satellite imagery, and air/water measurements to investigate how local and regional ocean processes in the Gulf of Mexico influence where surface oil from the leaking Taylor Energy Site travels.
Petroleum hydrocarbons released by oil spills can accumulate on beaches and in nearshore sediments, potentially creating health risks for humans and coastal organisms. However, the highly variable conditions of beach environments make it difficult to determine the long-term behavior and fate of hydrocarbons in sands and sediment.
Scientists conducted light-exposure experiments using Macondo oil and Corexit dispersant and ran model simulations to investigate how photo-chemical weathering (oxidation) affects dispersant effectiveness in oil spill response.