"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.

Study Examines Transformation of Weathered Oil in Saltmarsh Sediment

Scientists analyzed weathered and fresh Macondo oil to learn about oil products resulting from microbial degradation and photochemical reactions. They observed that 48 months after the Deepwater Horizon spill, less than 1 percent of oil remained in marsh sediments collected from heavily-impacted sites; however, it was still 400 times greater than sites with moderate-to-no observed oiling.