Marine oil snow

Marine oil snow – JUNE 11, 2019 (From Bioengineer / June 11, 2019) UD’s Andrew Wozniak investigates consequences of Deepwater Horizon oil spill If you were able to stand on the bottom of the seafloor and look up, you would see flakes of falling organic material and biological debris cascading down the water column like…

CARMMHA hosted several workshops and demonstrations at the Girl Scouts B.I.G. (Believe In Girls) event at the University of New Orleans. The girls learned about how scientists study dolphin health and participated in a mock dolphin assessment. See the CARMMHA website.

Science Education and Outreach at Festivals, Camps, and Events

Sharing science can be lots of fun, especially during events that have a light-hearted atmosphere where people gather for a good time. This past year, researchers and outreach staff from consortia funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative participated in a variety of events to share ocean and marine science that’s being used to study the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Samantha “Sam” Setta conducts DNA extractions with help from collaborators on the ADDOMEx team at Mount Allison University in Canada. (Photo by Laura Bretherton)

Grad Student Setta Studies Microbial Interactions to Inform Oil Spill Response Strategies

Phytoplankton and bacteria in the northern Gulf of Mexico interact closely at the food web base and provide vital food and nutrients to marine life at higher trophic levels. During the Deepwater Horizon incident, these pervasive organisms played an important role in oil bioremediation before and after the application of chemical dispersants, which broke up surface slicks into smaller droplets and enhanced microbial degradation.

Study author Uta Passow prepares treatments for roller table experiments. Image provided by Passow.

Study Explores Complex Dispersant Effects on Marine Oil Snow Formation

Researchers simulated the sinking of marine particle aggregates in oil-dispersant mixtures to assess how Corexit chemical dispersant affects specific biological processes involving marine oil snow formation. The team found that Corexit could significantly enhance or inhibit marine oil snow formation depending on application timing and location and interactions with other water column compounds, making its influence difficult to predict.