GoMRI Newsletter: Summer Issue 2019

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Above the Fold

“Screenscope Films Releases Dispatches from the Gulf 3”
Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Chuck Wilson
Note from the Research Board Chair
Education Spotlight
GoMRI Researcher Interview with Dr. Danielle McDonald
GoMRI Synthesis & Legacy







Community Happenings

Science Corner

Published Science Highlights from the GoMRI Program

Study Tests STARRS Imaging of Short-Lived Small-Scale Dispersion on Ocean’s Surface
D.F. Carlson, T. Özgökmen, G. Novelli, C. Guigand, H. Chang, B. Fox-Kemper, J. Mensa, S. Mehta, E. Fredj, H. Huntley, A.D. Kirwan Jr., M. Berta, M. Rebozo, M. Curcic, E. Ryan, B. Lund, B. Haus, J. Molemaker, C. Hunt, S. Chen, L. Bracken, J. Horstmann
Frontiers in Marine Science, 2018, Vol. 5, Article Number 479

Study Provides New Way of Looking at Energy Exchange at the Air-Sea Boundary Layer
A.W. Smith, B.K. Haus, J.A. Zhang
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 2019, Vol. 76(3), pgs. 689-706

Study Finds Slick Oil has Greater Impact than Source Oil on Fish Development
G. Diamante, E.G. Xu, S. Chen, E. Mager, M. Grosell, D. Schlenk
Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 2017, Vol. 4(12), pgs. 523-529

Study Tracks Ocean Methane Dissolution with Environmental Data and Computer Models
M. Leonte, B. Wang, S.A. Socolofsky, S. Mau, J.A. Breier, J.D. Kessler
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 2018, Vol. 19(11), pgs. 4459-4475

Study Finds Oil Exposure Reduces Cardiorespiratory Function in Cobia Fish
D. Nelson, J.D. Stieglitz, G.K. Cox, R.M. Heuer, D.D. Benetti, M. Grosell, D.A. Crossley II
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology and Pharmacology, 2017, Vol. 201, pgs. 58-65

Study Improves Drifter-Based Estimates of Near-Surface Ocean Currents
L.C. Laurindo, A.J. Mariano, R. Lumpkin
Deep Sea Research Part 1: Oceanographic Research Papers, 2017, Vol. 124, pgs. 73-92

Study Finds Oil Impacts on Fiddler Crabs May Also Affect Broader Marsh Health
M.E. Franco, B.E. Felgenhauer, P.L. Klerks
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2018, Vol. 37(2), pgs. 491-500

Study Finds Dispersed Oil, But Not Oil Alone, Negatively Affects Phytoplankton
L. Bretherton, M. Kamalanathan, J. Genzer, J Hillhouse, S. Setta, Y. Liang, C.M. Brown, C. Xu, J. Sweet, U. Passow, Z.V. Finkel, A.J. Irwin, P.H. Santschi, A. Quigg
Aquatic Toxicology, 2019, Vol. 206, pgs. 43-53

Study Describes Six-Year Evolution of Gulf Sediments Following Deepwater Horizon
R.A. Larson, G.R. Brooks, P.T. Schwing, C.W. Holmes, S.R. Carter, D.J. Hollander
Anthropocene, 2018, Vol. 24, pgs. 40-50

Study Compares 2D and 3D Model Simulations of Oil Plume Behavior
A.T. Fabregat, B. Deremble, N. Wienders, A. Stroman, A.C. Poje, T.M. Özgökmen, W.K. Dewar
Ocean Modelling, 2017, Vol. 119, pgs. 118-135

Study Gives Snapshot of Key Microbial Oil Biodegradation Mechanisms
S. Joye, S. Kleindienst, T.D. Peña-Montenegro
Cell, 2018, Vol. 172(6), pgs. 1336-1336.el

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

Video Clip of the Quarter

In June 2019, Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico (DEEPEND) consortium director Tracey Sutton and co-principal investigators Tammy Frank, Heather Judkins, Heather Bracken- Grissom, and Dante Fenolio participated in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER)-supported expedition called Journey into Midnight: Life and Light Below the Twilight Zone. The expedition took place in the Gulf of Mexico, and the goal was to study bioluminescence and vision capabilities of organisms living between 3,750 and 4,384 meters (12,303 and 14,383 feet) below the surface. During the expedition, the Medusa camera system the team was using captured video of a giant squid. This was the first time a giant squid has been filmed in the Gulf of Mexico and only the second time one has ever been recorded! Be sure to visit the DEEPEND website here to check out the incredible video, and visit the NOAA OER website here for more information on the discovery!

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

GoMRI Newsmakers

Dr. Joel Kostka, professor in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and associate chair of research in the School of Biological Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been elected as an American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) Fellow. AAM Fellows, an honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, are elected annually “through a highly selective, peer-review process based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.” Dr. Kostka is a co-principal investigator with the Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem (C-IMAGE) and was a co-principal investigator with the Deepsea to Coast Connectivity in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico (Deep-C) consortium. He is also a co-principal investigator on the RFP-V project A Systems Approach to Improve Predictions of Biodegradation and Ecosystem Recovery in Coastal Marine Sediments Impacted by Oil Spill. The GoMRI community congratulates Dr. Kostka on this distinction and recognition of his many scientific contributions!

The Dispersion Research on Oil: Physics and Plankton Studies (DROPPS) consortium partnered with the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TAMUCC), and the Smithsonian Institution’s MarineGEO program to host a Texas Coastal Bend BioBlitz from May 28 through June 6. The goal of the event was to conduct an in-depth biodiversity survey in both Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, Texas to expand and synthesize knowledge of the marine life in the area in order to have a robust baseline against which to track environmental change and impacts from future oil spills. Samples, which included both invertebrates and fishes, were collected and analyzed by scientists, graduate students, and volunteers – some as young as 11! Sixty-eight locations were sampled during 131 sampling events, and 1,441 individual organisms across 310 unique invertebrate taxa were collected. Read more about the event on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History website here. An interview with DROPPS director Ed Buskey about the campaign is available here.

GoMRI Scholars in Action

GoMRI recognizes the graduate students whose vital research contributes to improving understanding about the damage, response, and recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Candidates for the GoMRI Scholars 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 Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach team recently released a new eight-page publication  titled  Birds of a Feather – Coping with Oil. The publication summarizes the ways birds can be impacted during oil spills. Oiling of birds’ feathers can make it difficult for them to fly, potentially reducing their ability to find food, reproduce, and migrate. Impacts to migration can affect bird populations all over the world. Oiling can also reduce birds’ ability to maintain their body temperature, potentially leading to hypothermia and death. They can ingest oil through preening and eating contaminated food; ingestion of oil can cause the heart to weaken and enlarge, damage red blood cells and the liver, and reduce the birds’ ability to produce antioxidants. The publication also summarizes the estimations of bird losses following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, determined through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, and the effects of chronic oiling on birds. Read the publication here. The team also recently re-released the eight-page publication Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, which was updated to include recent peer-reviewed research and findings. Read the updated publication here. Read all of the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program publications here.

The team hosted two oil spill science seminars in recent months. Impacts of Oil Spills on Estuaries took place on July 1 and was hosted by the Grand Bay National Estuarine Reserve in Moss Point, Mississippi. The goal of the seminar was to discuss the impacts of oil on estuarine habitats, including impacts on circulation, phytoplankton, submerged aquatic vegetation, and fish. Presenters included Monica Wilson from Florida Sea Grant, Brian Dzwonkowski from the University of South Alabama and Dauphin Island Sea Lab, James Pinckney from the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at the University of South Carolina, Charles Martin from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Nature Coast Biological Station, Chelsea Hess from Louisiana State University, and Jill Awkerman from the Gulf Ecology Division of the Environmental Protection Agency. More information, including an agenda, speakers’ biographies, and presentation recordings, is available here. ‘Underdogs’ and Oil Spills: Impacts, Recovery, and Restoration took place on August 13 at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Refuge Complex in Lacombe, Louisiana. This seminar discussed oil spill impacts to organisms that are less common outside of the scientific community, but that provide vital information to researchers about the health of the ecosystem. Examples of these organisms include foraminifera, periwinkles, larval fish, and insects. Presenters included Emily Maung-Douglass from Louisiana Sea Grant, Patrick Schwing from the University of South Florida and Eckerd College, Frank Hernandez from the University of Southern Mississippi, Kayla Kimmel and James Harris from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Scott Zengel from Research Planning Inc., Linda Hooper-Bui and Michael Polito from Louisiana State University, and Gina Muhs Saizan from the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office. Visit the Sea Grant website here for more information about this seminar. Summaries of all of the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program’s previous seminars and workshops are available here.

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