GoMRI Newsletter: Farewell Issue 2020

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Above the Fold

“Capping Off the Decade of GoMRI”
Frequently Asked Questions
Note from the Research Board Chair
Education Spotlight
GoMRI Scholars Interview
GoMRI Synthesis & Legacy







Community Happenings

Editors Note

I am Katie Fillingham, and for the past five and a half years I have had the honor of writing, editing, and designing the GoMRI Quarterly Newsletters. Working on these issues has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career thus far, and I have been grateful for the opportunity. I am proud of the legacy they leave behind, telling the story of how the program has evolved over the seven years since we started publishing them.

The creation of these newsletters has been a massive team effort, however, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to and thank the many, many people who have been critical to their publication. Heather Mannix and Megan Gibney were instrumental in the generation of the early issues. Jason Mallett, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s graphic designer, designed all the issues prior to 2017. In 2017, he provided me with the opportunity to learn how to design and lay out the newsletters myself. He has been a wonderful teacher as I learned the process and gained confidence in my design abilities. I will always be grateful for the chance to learn this new skill.

On the GoMRI Management Team, Chuck Wilson, GoMRI’s Chief Scientific Officer, has been involved in every single issue’s Frequently Asked Questions and Notes from the Research Board pieces. He was always willing to listen to and share ideas, and I will cherish those opportunities we had to work together. Through Chuck, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Rita Colwell, GoMRI’s Research Board Chair, in generating the Notes from the Research Board articles. I am endlessly grateful to her for her keen interest in participating in every single issue. Maggie Dannreuther was always willing to talk with me about ideas for stories and ways to coordinate the newsletters with the GoMRI website stories. Leigh Zimmermann shared and listened to ideas and read and edited every single issue ever produced. They were infinitely better because of her support. Jessie Swanseen took on the generation of an issue when our communications team was in a transition – no small feat, and she produced an excellent issue. Once GoMRI’s Synthesis and Legacy effort began moving forward, we wanted to integrate regular updates on those activities into the issues, and I am extremely grateful to Callan Yanoff for writing and providing those summaries. Lastly, Leslie Smith led the development of this final issue as I moved on to new programs at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership; we thank her for producing this wonderful farewell issue!

Thank you to the GoMRI researchers, outreach coordinators, and program managers who worked with us to produce articles over the years. It was an honor to work with them and share their stories. Thank you to GoMRI’s external communications partners, Sea Grant, Screenscope, and Smithsonian Ocean Portal, who worked with us to coordinate content and produce articles. Being able to share information and updates across our individual platforms enhanced our overall communications program and undoubtedly increased awareness of GoMRI’s activities.

And finally, thank you to you, the readers of these newsletters. We produced them with you in mind, and it has been a pleasure sharing the program’s stories and successes with you. As we said in our publication announcements, we hope you have found them a useful way to keep up with the GoMRI research communities’ activities. While this year marks the end of 10 years of research through the GoMRI program to understand the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, much of the work done by the researchers funded by GoMRI and with our external communications partners will continue. We hope you will continue to stay engaged in their efforts as a legacy of the incredible work of this program.

Science Corner

Top 10 Most Read GoMRI Science Highlight Website Articles (as of July 1, 2020)

10. Study Suggests Wider Range of Mahi-Mahi’s Genetic Responses to Oil Exposure
E.G. Xu, E.M. Mager, M. Grosell, C. Pasparakis, L.S. Schlenker, J.D. Stieglitz, D. Benetti, E.S. Hazard, S.M. Courtney, G. Diamante, J. Freitas, G. Hardiman, D. Schlenk
Environmental Science & Technology, 2018, Vol. 52 (22), pgs. 13501-13510

9. Study Analyzes Trends and Gaps in Oil Spill Literature Since 1968<
D. Murphy, B. Gemmell, L. Vaccari, C. Li, H. Bacosa, M. Evans, C. Gemmell, T. Harvey, M. Jalali, T.H.R. Niepa
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2016, Vol. 113 (1–2), pgs. 371-379

8. Study Investigates Oil Spill Impacts and Recovery of Salt Marsh Fiddler Crab Populations
S. Zengel, S.C. Pennings, B. Silliman, C. Montague, J. Weaver, D.R. Deis, M.O. Krasnec, N. Rutherford, Z. Nixon<
Estuaries and Coasts, 2016, Vol. 39, pgs. 1154–1163

7. Study Confirms Methane-Eating Bacteria Contributed to Carbon Entering Food Web
J. Cherrier, J. Sarkodee-Adoo, T.P. Guilderson, J.P. Chanton
Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 2014, Vol. 1(1), pgs. 108-112

6. Study Identifies Key Species that Influence Marsh Ecosystem Responses to Oiling
M.J. McCann, K.W. Able, R.R. Christian, F.J. Fodrie, O.P. Jensen, J.J. Johnson, P.C. López-Duarte, C.W. Martin, J.A. Olin, M.J. Polito, B.J. Roberts, S.L. Ziegler
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2017, Vol. 15(3), pgs. 142- 149

5. Study Details Underwater Oil Plume Formation and Droplet Size Distribution
L. Zhao, F. Shaffer, B. Robinson, T. King, C. D’Ambrose, Z. Pan, F. Gao, R.S. Miller, R.N. Conmy, M.C. Boufadel
Chemical Engineering Journal, 2016, Vol. 299, pgs. 292-303

4. Study Finds Clams are Oil Indicator Species for Gulf of Mexico Surf Zones
R.A. Snyder, A. Vestal, C. Welch, G. Barnes, R. Pelot, M. Ederington-Hagy, F. Hileman
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2014, Vol. 83(1), pgs. 87-91

3. Study Identifies Efficient Food-Grade Emulsifier as Dispersant Alternative
J.C. Athas, K. Jun, C. McCafferty, O. Owoseni, V.T. John, S.R. Raghavan
Langmuir, 2014, Vol. 30(31), pgs. 9285–9294

2. Study Summarizes Current Knowledge on Marine Oil Snow During and After Deepwater Horizon
K.L. Daly, U. Passow, J. Chanton, D. Hollander
Anthropocene, 2016, Vol. 13, pgs. 18-33

1. Study Finds Three Ways for Oil Spill to Impact Gulf Seaweed
S.P. Powers, F.J. Hernandez, R.H. Condon, J.M. Drymon, C.M. Free
PLoS ONE, 2013, Vol. 8(9), e74802

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

GoMRI Scholars in Action

GoMRI takes the challenge of training the next generation of Gulf of Mexico and oil spill scientists very seriously! GoMRI has funded more than 1,200 Ph.D. candidates and master’s degree students, with over 300 graduate students being recognized as GoMRI Scholars. To be considered a GoMRI Scholar, graduate students must have participated in a GoMRI-funded project for at least one year, be primarily funded by GoMRI, and be working on a thesis or dissertation based on GoMRI-funded science. The first GoMRI Scholar website article was published in July 2014 and focused on University of South Florida student Susan Snyder and her work on fish bile. Since then, the GoMRI website has profiled almost a third of the GoMRI Scholars. Check out the top ten most read GoMRI Scholar’s articles below.

Top 10 Most Read GoMRI Scholar’s Website Articles (as of July 1, 2020):

  1. Grad Student Shi Uses Chemical Fingerprinting to Investigate Oil in the Water Column (Nov. 2017)
  2. How Grad Student Cui Uses River Diversion Models to Inform Oil Spill Remediation (Dec. 2016)
  3. Grad Student Pearson esolves Statistical Conflict in Submesoscale Ocean Processes (Jan. 2019)
  4. Grad Student Novotny Searches for Oil Transport Pathways in Deep-Sea Fish Stomachs (May 2017)
  5. Grad Student Diamante Investigates How PAHs Affect Fish Development (Feb. 2017)
  6. Grad Student Parks Assesses How Disasters and Social Factors Influence Human Health (Jul. 2017)
  7. Grad Student Pruzinsky Uses Morphological Patterns to ID Young Tuna for Population Assessments (Aug. 2019)
  8. Grad Student Jaggi Seeks Solution to World’s Clean Water Shortage (May 2016)
  9. Grad Student Karthikeyan Uses Genetics to Understand Microbial Oil Degradation in Beach Sands (Sep. 2018)
  10. Grad Student Mahmud Makes Acoustics and Tracking Marine Mammals “Click” (Jun. 2017)

Sea Grant

The Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach team hosted a seminar on March 12, 2020, in Metairie, Louisiana, in conjunction with the Southeastern Louisiana Area Committee meeting, that discussed surface collecting agents (SCAs) – compounds that can be used to herd oil during emergency response operations. Speakers covered the history, science, and logistics of using SCAs during an oil spill. Complementary oil spill response techniques, as well as advances in developing the next generation of chemical herders, were also discussed. Click here to see the agenda and here to view the slide presentations.

The team’s most recent publication focuses on mangroves, which are extremely productive and beneficial coastal ecosystems. Read about how mangrove forests protect and stabilize shorelines here. Read all of the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program publications here.

The team also recently issued three workshop-related reports:

  • Evaluation of a national workshop series to minimize health, social, and economic disruptions from oil spills: In 2018 and 2019, seven Sea Grant programs (including the Gulf Sea Grant Oil Spill Science team) received support from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Gulf Research Program and GoMRI to conduct workshops around the country focused on public health, social disruption, and economic impacts of oil This report summarizes a follow-up evaluation sent to everyone involved in the project six months after it concluded. Access this report here.
  • Fostering emergency responder and university researcher collaboration: Workshop summary report: Beginning in 2015, team members hosted five workshops around the Gulf of Mexico to give emergency responders and oil spill science researchers an opportunity to network and learn from one To read the report and learn attendees’ ideas on ways researchers and responders can collaborate during future spills, please click here.
  • Oil in the Bay: 15 years after the Athos I spill: The Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach team, in partnership with the Sea Grant programs of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, held a special session at the Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit in January of 2019. The workshop aimed to highlight oil spill-related needs and resources in the Delaware Bay, as well as strengthen networks. This report details workshop proceedings. Learn more here.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the team continues to share important science with the community through webinars. The first in a three-part series of webinars on detecting the true, potential, and perceived impacts to human health following an oil spill was held on June 8, 2020, and focused on impacts of oil spills on air quality. Parts two and three of this series will focus on water quality and dispersants, with dates yet to be announced. The team also recently began a seminar series on oysters with the first part of the series held on June 26, 2020. Dates and times for other topics, including marine snow, will be announced in the coming days and weeks. To keep updated on the latest developments, please click here! Finally, during the upcoming months the team will be producing outreach publications that summarize the work of the Synthesis core areas and supporting state events that highlight GoMRI’s activities.

As GoMRI comes to an end, the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach team will continue to maintain the oil spill website that features presentations from GoMRI-supported and other researchers and outreach publications. Moving forward, the team will be sharing information beyond oil spill science, to include additional topics through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information.

Ocean Portal

The GoMRI partnership with the Smithsonian Ocean Portal has not only yielded amazing web-based content over the years, such as their recently released interactive explaining What Are Fossil Fuels? and an ArcGIS story map on Where Did the Oil Go In the Gulf of Mexico?, but also allowed for some really cool events! One of these took place on March 6, 2020 at Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring, Maryland, as a joint event between GoMRI, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Nerd Nite DC. Three members of the GoMRI research community, Laura Bracken Chaibongsai (CARTHE), Lela Schlenker (RECOVER), and Laura Timm (DEEPEND), told their engaging research stories of the failure-lined road to innovation and technology, the bedroom antics of mahi-mahi, and barcoding shellfish, respectively, to a sold-out audience! And speaking of really cool web content, the Ocean Portal recently released this piece on oil degrading microbes!

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