(From Fall 2014 Newsletter) Dr. Rita Colwell, University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University
Reliable data are the cornerstone of science and critical for accurate research results. This holds true for petroleum compounds and their analyses. To promote the best possible science on hydrocarbons, GoMRI has partnered with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the Hydrocarbon Intercalibration Experiment (HIE).
HIE developed out of a GoMRI-sponsored workshop in January 2014, at which experts from various disciplines met to discuss current methods for hydrocarbon analysis, emerging new techniques, best practices for evaluating data quality, and improvement of methods for future applications. Workshop presenters described good laboratory practices and guidelines for analysis of crude oil constituents and detection of crude oil chemicals in sediment and tissues of animals and plants. To assure the highest quality data, presenters and workshop participants concluded there was a need and opportunity for participating laboratories to join in analyzing a set of certified standards and comparing results. Workshop participants strongly supported the notion of a comparison exercise. GoMRI followed up by launching the HIE partnership with NIST to advance laboratory QAQC practices and undertake inter-laboratory comparisons and cross-calibrations.
Participants in the HIE were supplied with weathered crude oil and reference Macondo oil to analyze during late summer and fall 2014. Data resulting from the HIE will be submitted for compilation during the winter of 2014. The HIE results will be collated by Dr. Chris Reddy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, for presentation and discussion of the results, practices, and lessons learned. Because discussion of these findings will be both useful and interesting, you are urged to attend the workshop to discuss results at the 2015 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in Houston, Texas, scheduled for February 16, 2015.
The HIE is yet another example of the valuable and strong collaboration within the GoMRI community of researchers and beyond, with others who share a deep interest in hydrocarbon analysis. GoMRI is focused on fostering the highest quality research, informing science-based policy and management, and building intellectual capacity by fostering research connectivity.