Summer 2018 – Notes from GoMRI’s Chief Scientific Officer
– OCTOBER 12, 2018
(From Summer 2018 Newsletter) Dr. Chuck Wilson
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) had a busy summer. The Synthesis and Legacy Subcommittee of the Research Board, along with members of the GoMRI Management Team, continued to work together with GoMRI researchers and the response community to plan the upcoming Synthesis and Legacy workshops. The first workshops kick off this fall; visit page 9 for more information. The GoMRI-funded consortia continued to implement their own Synthesis and Legacy activities as well. The Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico (DEEPEND) consortium hosted the first of their Synthesis workshops in May. The workshop had more than 50 participants, including members of the DEEPEND consortium, the GoMRI Research Board and Management Team, and other GoMRI researchers. More information is available on the DEEPEND website here, and the workshop agenda is here. In addition to the workshops, GoMRI has been in discussions with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine about contributing to a fourth volume of their journal Oil in the Sea. GoMRI looks forward to potentially collaborating with the Academies on this special issue.
It was also a busy summer field season for many GoMRI consortia and researchers. In June, the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) conducted a series of experiments at the Ohmsett Oil Wave Tank to explore and measure particle size distributions from outlets, such as nozzles or spouts. In July, the Consortium for Advanced Research on Marine Mammal Health Assessment (CARMMHA) spent 10 days in Barataria Bay sampling bottlenose dolphins; their objective was to capture and tag the dolphins and perform evaluations to assess their cardiac and immune health as a part of their overall goal to investigate the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the population. A few members of the GoMRI Management Team got to partake in some of the sampling efforts, helping to capture and release dolphins during their evaluations. Also in July, DEEPEND conducted their DP06 cruise to continue sampling efforts to generate an abundance time series dataset. A professional cinematographer participated in the cruise, and the footage will be developed into a DEEPEND documentary. Stay tuned for more information about the film.
Finally, the GoMRI Management Team and the Research Board received and reviewed proposals for the Request for Sample Analysis Funds, and the awardees were notified in late August. The goal of the request was to support the processing or analysis of samples that had already been collected by currently-funded GoMRI researchers, in the event that they “might conclude hypothesis testing or allow exploration of new or unanticipated questions or hypotheses.” This effort ensures that GoMRI is supporting as much research as possible, a priority for the Research Board which directly reinforces GoMRI’s legacy.