UL Lafayette post-doctoral researcher Bree Yednock examines a juvenile blue crab in the LUMCON laboratory with student Susan Chiasson. (Photo credit: Joe Neigel)

Blue Crab Detectives Delve into Post-Spill Mystery

When Dr. Joe Neigel of the University of Louisiana Lafayette and Dr. Caz Taylor of Tulane University began examining data on the number of blue crabs in the northern Gulf of Mexico one year after the worst oil spill in history, they were expecting to see a reduction in the crab population.

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Dr. Liz Kujawinski (left) and a research associate at WHOI monitor a specialized mass spectrometer that measures the individual weights of compounds in a complex mixture to help identify those present. (Photo by Tom Kleindist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Polar Oil: When Oil and Water Mix

Oil and water don’t mix, right? For the most part, that’s true. Oil is made up of many compounds, the majority of which are not water soluble or “non-polar” in scientific terms. When oil enters water, such as from a spill, most of it gathers together in balls or sheets.

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