Students Jessica Diller (bottom) and Kamala Earl (top) prepare enclosed treatment plots in oiled marshes of Barataria Bay, La. (Photo by Gabriel

Studies Explore the Dynamics of How Offshore Oil Spills Affect Coastal Environments

Oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident moved from deep waters to coastal shorelines, overwhelming their natural defenses which, in turn, slowed or prevented their recovery. Scientists with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) have been assessing the health of these complex environments that experience stressors from multiple sources, providing information that can inform response decisions during future disturbances.

"Shine" by Eduardo Mueses is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A Decade of Research Reveals Significance of Sunlight’s Effects on Floating Oil

April 2020 marks ten years since the tragic Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. It also marks a decade of oil spill research that followed funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiate (GoMRI), resulting in more than 1,350 peer-reviews studies published so far, that are helping us understand the oil’s fate and impacts and be better prepared for future spills.

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.

Study author Wokil Bam collects arthropod samples in Louisiana coastal marshes. Provided by Wokil Bam.

Study Finds Hurricane Isaac Prolonged Oil Spill Impacts on Some Marsh Insects and Spiders

Researchers collected and analyzed terrestrial arthropods from Louisiana marshes to determine the combined effects from Deepwater Horizon and Hurricane Isaac on saltmarsh ecosystems. The initial oiling from the spill (2010) followed by the oil’s redistribution during Hurricane Isaac (2012) negatively affected some arthropod groups three-four years after the spill.