Petroleum hydrocarbons buried in sandy beaches are protected from tides and UV light and, thus, may persist longer in the environment than oil on the beach surface.
Researchers analyzed the combined effects of photooxidation and biodegradation on sand patties associated with the Deepwater Horizon incident. The scientists found that irradiation contributed to increased concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, which leached from sand patties penetrated by seawater.
Responders to the Deepwater Horizon spill used large quantities of dispersant to facilitate oil biodegradation, but could a different method be safer for the environment?
Scientists from Brown University and the University of Rhode Island investigated how Alcanivorax borkumensis, a dominate bacterium in marine environments that contain high hydrocarbon levels, can be supported to naturally degrade oil.
Scientists simulated twenty subsurface spill scenarios, using data reflective of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and found large differences in transport predictions when model parameters included bacterial consumption (biodegradation) of oil droplets.
Scientists from the University of Texas at Austin assessed photooxidation and biodegradation rates on different hydrocarbon groups.
Biodegradation? Chromatography? While scientists toss these terms around with no problem, they can sound like a foreign language to others.
Scientists used models, lab experiments, and observations from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to evaluate the importance of variables in oil transport and fate models, particularly those influencing underwater plume development.
Researchers have known that pollutant exposure alters the ability of ecological systems to degrade those pollutants upon encountering them again.
Scientists studying the weathering processes that altered the oil released during the Deepwater Horizon spill recently published their findings in the September 2012 Issue of Environmental Research Letters