The Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal published an article about deep sea coral affected by the Deepwater Horizon incident and how their recovery is linked to the sea creature that lives on them. The ECOGIG research consortium are monitoring the health of these corals over time using high-resolution imagery, and they have made some amazing discoveries.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is pleased to announce a new Sea Grant publication that explains which corals were affected by the Deepwater Horizon incident and how scientists are monitoring those corals. The bulletin also describes the important roles that corals play in maintaining a healthy ocean and how corals worldwide struggle in the face of constant, multiple threats.
Researchers developed the first transcriptomic database for mahi-mahi embryos and larvae exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident. The team assembled over 60,000 transcripts, identified over 30,000 gene sequences, and observed 2,345 genes that differed significantly after exposure to weathered oil.
The Smithsonian recently published an article about how researchers are using sound or echolocation to learn more about the elusive beaked whale. Some of these whales live and forage in the vicinity where the Deepwater Horizon incident happened, and researchers are monitoring their numbers and location to learn how the oil spill may have affected their populations.
Researchers in Florida and Louisiana extended a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) of fiddler crabs and periwinkle snails after the Deepwater Horizon incident to assess marsh recovery from oiling. The team found that fiddler crabs, the more mobile of the two species, had mostly recovered by 30 months in terms of size, density, and species composition.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is pleased to announce a new Sea Grant publication that addresses the public’s questions about health safety after the Deepwater Horizon incident. The fact sheet, Is it Safe? Examining Health Risks from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill succinctly explains findings from peer-reviewed studies and reports from state and federal agencies that investigated the safety of the beach, water, and seafood since the spill.
Seaside Sparrows live and forage in coastal Gulf of Mexico marshlands, some of which were oiled following the Deepwater Horizon incident. Sparrows in these oiled marshes likely ingested invertebrates that were also exposed to oil. Allison Snider uses DNA analyses to investigate potential long-term changes in the diets of Seaside Sparrows following Deepwater Horizon.
Meiofauna provide important ecosystem services such as waste removal to the deep sea-floor environment and can act as indicators of ecosystem health.
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.
Data and pictures from before and after a disaster help us understand the impacts of an event; however, the “before” is not always available. Researchers with the RECOVER consortium have found through oil-exposure laboratory studies that the Deepwater Horizon incident may have negatively affected mahi-mahi’s heart function, vision, and swim performance.