GoMRI Newsletter: Fall Issue 2017

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Above the Fold

“GoMRI and Screenscope Films Announce Dispatches from the Gulf 2: Research • Innovation • Discovery
“CONCORDE Partners with Local Fishers on Citizen Science Initiative”
Frequently Asked Questions by Dr. Chuck Wilson
Note from the Research Board Chair
Education Spotlight
GoMRI Researcher Interview with Dr. Steve Saul






Community Happenings

Science Corner

Published Science Highlights from the GoMRI Program

Study Describes How Marine Particle Aggregates Influence Oil Spill Fate
R.A. Lambert, E.A. Variano
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2016, Vol. 121(5), pgs. 3250-3260

Study Finds Low Oil Concentrations Impair Self-Preservation Behaviors in Coral Reef Fish Larvae
J.L. Johansen, B.J.M. Allan, J.L. Rummer, A.J. Esbaugh
Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2017, Vol. 1, pgs. 1146-1152

Study Characterizes Oil and Gas Bubbles Released from Natural Hydrocarbon Seeps
C. Johansen, A.C. Todd, I.R. MacDonald
Marine and Petroleum Geology, 2017, Vol. 82, pgs. 21-34

Study Assesses How Sunlight and Microbial Degradation Affect Oil-Derived Sand Patties
B.H. Harriman, P. Zito, D.C. Podgorski, M.A. Tarr, J.M. Suflita
Environmental Science and Technology, 2017, Vol. 51(13), pgs. 7412-7421

Study Finds Different Avoidance Behaviors in Estuarine Fish to Oiled Sediment
C.W. Martin
Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2017, Vol. 576, pgs. 125-134

Study Describes How Autonomous Surface Vehicles Improve Marine Mammal Monitoring
A.T. Ziegwied, V. Dobbin, S. Dyer, C. Pierpoint, N. Sidorovskaia
OCEANS 2016 MTS/IEEE Monterey

Study Develops Biogeographic Classification of the World’s Deep Oceans
T.T. Sutton, M.R. Clark, D.C. Dunn, P.N. Halpin, A.D. Rogers, J. Guinotte, S.J. Bograd, M.V. Angel, J.A.A. Perez, K. Wishner, R.L. Haedrich, D.J. Lindsay, J.C. Drazen, A. Vereshchaka, U. Piatkowski, T. Morato, K. Blachowiak-Samolyk, B.H. Robison, K.M. Gjerde, A. Pierrot-Bults, P. Bernal, G. Reygondeau, M. Heino
Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 2017, Vol. 126, pgs. 85-102

Modelling Study Demonstrates Dispersants Lowered Health Risks During Oil Spill
J. Gros, S.A. Socolofsky, A.L. Dissanayake, I. Jun, L. Zhao, M.C. Boufadel, C.M. Reddy, J.S. Arey
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2017, doi: 10.1017/pnas.1612518114

Study Finds Small-Scale Flows Alter Transport Pathways on the Ocean’s Surface
A.C. Haza, T.M. Ozgokmen, P. Hogan
Ocean Modelling, 2016, Vol. 107, pgs. 28-47

Study Finds Oil Exposure Reduces Cardiac Function and Survival in Red Drum Larvae
A.J. Khursigara, P. Perrichon, N. Martinez Bautista, W.W. Burggren, A.J. Esbaugh
Science of the Total Environment, 2017, Vol. 579, pgs. 797-804

To see all GoMRI publications, please visit the GoMRI Publication Database.

Video Clip of the Quarter

In the summer of 2017, scientists with the Relationships of Effects of Cardiac Outcomes in Fish for Validation of Ecological Risk (RECOVER) consortium embarked on a three-day expedition to satellite tag mahi-mahi. The satellite tags collect important information on mahi-mahi migration, as well as temperature and depth during their travels, over a 96-day period. RECOVER’s overall objective is to better understand how exposure to oil impacts wild mahi-mahi, and this tagging expedition was the first step in beginning to understand the population’s behavior in the wild.

As Hurricane Irma approached Florida this past fall, scientists at the University of Miami Experimental Fish Hatchery, including those who work for RECOVER, sprang into action to safely transport and protect valuable fish from the impacts of the storm. The fish were moved to the Surge-Structure-Atmosphere Interaction (SUSTAIN) Facility at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to ride out the storm. Ironically, the SUSTAIN Facility is used to study wind, waves, and storm surges during tropical cyclones and hurricanes and is designed to generate and withstand forces up to a Category 5 hurricane. RECOVER shared a video of the transfer on their Facebook page; check it out here.

Following their Jewels of the Gulf expedition this past summer, the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) consortium produced a three-part video series to share more about deep sea corals and why studying them is so important. The videos were produced in partnership with Allison Randolph, a filmmaker and ocean education advocate, who participated in the Jewels of the Gulf expedition. More information on the video series can be found on ECOGIG’s website here, and the videos can be viewed here. Be sure to check them out!

Don’t forget to check out GoMRI’s YouTube Channel here.

GoMRI Newsmakers

GoMRI is pleased to share that GoMRI Research Board Chair Dr. Rita Colwell has been selected as the 33rd laureate of the International Prize for Biology. The award is given by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and recognizes scientists for their contributions to the “advancement of research in fundamental biology.” The prize is one of the highest honors a natural scientist can receive. Dr. Colwell will receive her award at a ceremony in her honor, which will be held later in 2017 at the Japanese Academy in Japan. GoMRI congratulates Dr. Colwell on receiving this exceptional award!

Dr. William “Monty” Graham, principal investigator of the Consortium for Oil Spill Exposure Pathways in Coastal River-Dominated Ecosystems (CONCORDE) and Director of the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Ocean Science and Technology (SOST), has been selected to chair the governor of Mississippi’s newly formed Ocean Task Force. The task force will provide recommendations on how the state of Mississippi can enhance unmanned maritime systems applications through both advancement of technologies and supporting workforce professional development. GoMRI congratulates Dr. Graham on being selected to lead this important effort.

GoMRI Scholars in Action

GoMRI recognizes the graduate students whose vital research contributes to improving understanding about the damage, response, and recovery of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Candidates for this program must be graduate students who have participated in a GoMRI-funded project for at least one year, whose research is primarily funded by GoMRI, and who are working on a dissertation or thesis based on GoMRI-funded science.

Learn more about the scholars’ research and career paths on the GoMRI website:

Sea Grant

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team has been hosting a series of seminars focused on bringing together scientists and responders, called Responding to Oil Spills. The series features information on how science helps manage oil spills, including what data and information can help enhance predication and response. Two seminars in the series were held this fall: Responding to Oil Spills: Coastal Wetlands Habitats took place on October 26, 2017 at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research Extension Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Responding to Oil Spills: Nearshore and Beach Habitats took place on November 13, 2017 at the Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama. A third seminar in the series will be held on January 9, 2018 in Lacombe, Louisiana on Offshore and Deep Sea Habitats. More information on these seminars can be found here.

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team has also released a new publication and one-page fact sheet. The publication Where Did the Oil Go? shares what scientists have learned about where the oil went in the Gulf following the Deepwater Horizon spill. Is it Safe? Examining Oil Spill Health Risks from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is a one-page fact sheet that discusses what scientists have learned about the impacts and safety of Gulf of Mexico beaches, water, and seafood following the spill. For more information on the Gulf Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program, please visit gulfseagrant.org.

Ocean Portal

Smithsonian Ocean Portal recently released an article called Fish Get Risky Around Oil, which includes contributions from the Relationships of Effects of Cardiac Outcomes in Fish for Validation of Ecological Risk (RECOVER) consortium. Scientists have been studying how chemicals, including ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, impact the brains and behavior of fish and other organisms that live in the ocean. Exposure to these chemicals can impair fish behavior by making them less fearful of predators and slower to respond to dangers. Researchers are beginning to learn that many of the same behavioral changes can occur when fish are exposed to even small concentrations of oil. Read more here.

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