Sea Grant Releases Publication on Microbes and Oil Degradation

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is pleased to announce a new Sea Grant publication that explains the role that microbes play in using oil as an energy source and removing it from the environment.

The 8-page brochure Microbes and oil: What’s the connection? describes how these microscopic organisms can have a large-scale effect by quickly degrading oil in water and how different factors influence the rate that oil is broken down. It also describes how the microbes’ behavior can differ depending on their species, the type of oil they encounter, and the place they live in the marine environment. Included in the publication is what scientists are learning about how man-made response efforts such as chemical dispersants affect microbial oil degradation.

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team synthesizes peer-reviewed science for a broad range of general audiences, particularly those who live and work across the Gulf Coast. Sea Grant offers oil-spill related public seminars across the United States. 

Information about upcoming Sea Grant science seminars and recently-held events is available here. To receive email updates about seminars, publications, and the outreach team, click here.


GoMRI and the Sea Grant programs of the Gulf of Mexico (Florida, Mississippi-Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas) have partnered to create an oil spill science outreach program.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit

© Copyright 2010- 2018 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) – All Rights Reserved. Redistribution is encouraged with acknowledgement to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). Please credit images and/or videos as done in each article. Questions? Contact web-content editor Nilde “Maggie” Dannreuther, Northern Gulf Institute, Mississippi State University (