Sunday 26 March 2017

The Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem

A tale of two Gulf spills: A research consortium of 19 institutions from 5 countries studying the impacts of oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico.

C-IMAGE Blog

Whether in the field or in the lab, C-IMAGE highlights the research of our members and our students.
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Katelyn Knight, Student of the Month, March 2017

Katelyn Knight, Student of the Month, March 2017

The role of microbial communities during oil spills gets a bit of attention due to their role in biodegradation of oil and dispersants. Since 2010, research have discovered that dispersed oil inhibits growth of certain bacteria strains, and biodegradation occurs in different phases depending on the weathering of the oil. Katelyn Knight looks to make her mark in microbial research with her studies on their community structure in response to changes in the marine environment. Her work at the University of West Florida makes her or C-IMAGE Student of the Month of March 2017.

What path did you take to make it to where you are now? Bachelors degree, internship experience, working experience?

I obtained my Bachelors degree in marine biology at the University of West Alabama. While I attended undergraduate school, I worked in a research lab at the university under one of my professors and also volunteered on multiple graduate students research projects. I also did my own research project studying grass shrimp in the Pensacola Bay as an undergraduate for a research in biology class. This particular experience allowed me to take teachings and lectures in class and put it to practical use in the field.

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Bekka Larson, Student of the Month, February 2017

Bekka Larson, Student of the Month, February 2017

Many of the Students of the Month have been involved in their research for several years, but few have been involved from Gulf spill through recovery. Bekka Larson, a PhD student at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science, has studied the sediment of the Gulf from the months following the spill in 2010 through today. It is Bekka's persistence and dedication to understanding the Gulf's recovery which makes her our Student of the Month for February 2017.

Bekka started her work with sediments and oil spills as a research technician with Dr. Gregg Brooks at Eckerd College Department of Marine Science, and managed the collection of critical cores during the Deepwater Horizon (DwH) response. Her research uses high-resolution core sampling to analyze how the seafloor environment changes after major events like oil spills. Sediments act as history books for the Gulf's past, and Bekka is turning the page of our understanding of the Gulf.

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Susan Snyder, Student of the Month, November 2016

Susan Snyder, Student of the Month, November 2016

The public often asks "Is Gulf seafood safe to eat after the Deepwater Horizon spill?" Short answer: Yes. So long as we're not eating gallbladders or fish livers. Susan Snyder studies ecotoxicology at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science where she takes tissues and bile from fish and analyzes the amount of oil in them.  Susan is the C-IMAGE Student of the Month for November 2016!

Susan's research focuses on how sick a fish gets when it is exposed to oil, specifically exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), the larger and more toxic components of oil. Her research on PAH Exposure in Gulf of Mexico Demersal Fishes, Post-Deepwater Horizon in Environmental Science and Technology. 

What is the focus of your research? How will your findings contribute to the overall understanding of oil spills or oil spill response?

I measure polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in fish tissues.  PAHs are the toxic and persistent component of oil.  We measure PAH metabolites in fish bile to get a level of short-term (days) exposure to oil.  The idea behind this method is similar to a urinalysis drug test of a human.  We also measure PAH levels in fish liver and muscle tissue to understand accumulation of these contaminants.  Chronic exposure and accumulation of PAHs is linked with negative health effects in fish, such as liver cancer.

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Juan Viamonte, Student of the Month, October 2016

Juan Viamonte, Student of the Month, October 2016

Juan Viamonte, a PhD student in the Institute of Technical Biocatalysis at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), studies microorganisms in extreme conditions. With jars of sediments from the Gulf's floor shipped half-way around the world, Juan cultures the bacteria and repressurizes them to simulate the conditions at the bottom of the ocean. With these lab simulated conditions he is able to provide more accurate estimates of deep-sea biodegradation, important information when developing models during response efforts. The scope of Juans work makes him the C-IMAGE Student of the Month for October 2016.

What is the focus of your research? How will your findings contribute to the overall understanding of oil spills or oil spill response?

My research focus is evaluating how microorganisms can degrade Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) oil when specific physicochemical conditions, similar to the ones surrounding the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout, are simulated in the lab. With the help of high pressure reactor prototypes, biodegradation reactions are carried out at 150 bar and 4°C, assisted by bacterial communities present in the upper layer of sediments collected near the Macondo well by the C-IMAGE cruises.

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One Gulf Wrap Up-Dr. Steve Murawski

One Gulf Wrap Up-Dr. Steve Murawski

A Final Blog from the Chief Scientist of the OneGulf Survey

Crossing under the Skyway Bridge into Tampa Bay represents the symbolic end of the OneGulf Expedition – a 40 day voyage of discovery of the biology and geology of the Gulf of Mexico.  Our travels throughout the Gulf took us over 4,000 miles and resulted in literally thousands of samples of fish, sediments, water and plankton.  In one sense the cruise is over, but in another sense it is just beginning.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Sherryl Gilbert

R/V Weatherbird Log-Sherryl Gilbert

My name is Sherryl Gilbert and I am the C-IMAGE Program Manager.  On August 17th, I flew into Poza Rica, Mexico to meet my fellow C-IMAGErs just as they were two weeks into their Gulf Wide Fish Survey of 2016.

We are three days into this particular 10-day leg that left Tuxpan, Mexico on August 21 and will arrive in Corpus Christi, Texas on September 1.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to get away from my more standard C-IMAGE duties and help our students and scientists collect the pieces of this incredible dataset.

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R/V Weatherbird Blog-Kristina Deak

R/V Weatherbird Blog-Kristina Deak

Hi! I'm Kristina Deak, a PhD student with Dr. Steve Murawski at the USF College of Marine Science. This is my fifth year at sea with the Mud & Blood expedition collecting fish with Dr. Murawski.

I primarily study golden tilefish, a demersal fish that loves to make burrows out of mud.  This makes them a particularly attractive species for oil spill research, because they make their homes in the oiled sediment and then remain close by for the majority of their mature lives, leading to continual exposure to contaminants in the vicinity. 

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Dr. Shannon O'Leary

R/V Weatherbird Log-Dr. Shannon O'Leary

I recently discovered that an important component of my research is the fact that I am engaged in a real-life version of Go Fish.

As a postdoc in the Marine Genomics Lab at TAMUCC I study the molecular ecology and conservation genetics of exploited marine fish.

In less science-y terms that means that I use markers in the DNA to identify patterns of connectivity between fish population (so whether fish from one area breed with fish from another area) and explore the interaction with and adaptation on a genetic level and determine how this applies to marine conservation and management of fishes.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Chris Bailey

R/V Weatherbird Log-Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey, fisherman extraordinaire and crew member of FIO's R/V Weatherbird II, has been fishing with C-IMAGE scientists since 2014, and an active crew-member aboard the vessel since 2011. Chris’ role aboard the Weatherbird II during C-IMAGE research cruises is as the main fisherman, setting out and pulling in all of the fishing hooks.

To date, Chris has set and pulled in almost 58,000 hooks!

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Samantha Bosman

R/V Weatherbird Log-Samantha Bosman

My name is Samantha Bosman and I am Research Assistant at Florida State University. Since my last year of undergrad in 2004, I have participated on research cruises almost yearly. Each cruise has been unique and has offered different experiences.

During the One Gulf cruise, I experienced seasickness for the first time as we traveled toward the southern Gulf of Mexico shortly after tropical depression Earl traveled along the coast of Mexico. However, after a full uninterrupted five hours of sleep, I was able to recover and continue collecting samples.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Greta Helmueller

R/V Weatherbird Log-Greta Helmueller

Hello! My name is Greta, and I am an incoming master’s student at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. I originally hail from the great state of Minnesota, which doesn’t have too many oceans, so this is my first time doing any sort of oceanographic fieldwork ever! Therefore, I thought I’d dedicate my blog post to sharing things that I’ve learned about being on a research cruise as someone who has zero experience with the ocean:

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Simeon Pesch, Student of the Month, July 2016

Simeon Pesch, Student of the Month, July 2016

The behavior and mechanics of deep sea plumes is been studied using samples of liquid oil, "dead oil," expelled from nozzles to view turbulence in the plume and estimate how the droplets distribute in sub-surface and surface plumes. But how does a mixture of oil and gases, like methane and known as "live oil," change droplet sizes and turbulence within a plume? Live oil is the natural way oil discharges from a well head, and Simeon Pesch is working to incorporate live oil into future oil fate models.

Simeon is a PhD student at the Institute of Multiphase Flows at the Hamburg University of Technology in Germany. His work with gas plumes makes him our C-IMAGE student of the Month for July 2016. We asked Simeon to share his research within the blog. 

What path did you take to make it to where you are now? Bachelor’s degree, internship experience, working experience and what initially interested you in working with your TUHH colleagues?

In 2009 I began studying process engineering at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and in 2012 I got my bachelor’s degree. During my study I worked as tutor for the Institute of Multiphase Flows (IMS) for several years, teaching undergraduate students fluid mechanics.

In the year 2014 I went to Ghana for an internship in a petroleum engineering company. This was a very intense and instructive experience, not primarily in terms of engineering but also because I learned a lot about the culture and the way of solving problems there.

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Jessica Wonink, Student of the Month, June 2016

Jessica Wonink, Student of the Month, June 2016

During the Deepwater Horizon spill, an estimated 10% of the 210 million gallons spilled remained on the sea floor affecting these benthic (bottom dwelling) ecosystems. This oil finds its way to the sea floor through two known processes, (1) oil floats to the surface, degrades, and sinks to the bottom,known as a MOSSFA event, and (2) sub-sea plumes meet the continental shelf and cover the bottom in oil. To understand the effects of these two processes on benthic ecosystems, researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands have set up aquariums to simulate interactions of oil and dispersants to benthic communities.

Jessica Wonink, a M.S. student at Wageningen is studying the interaction of oil and dispersants on macro- and meiofauna found on the sea floor. Jessica is our C-IMAGE Student of the Month for June 2016.

What is the focus of your research, how will your results contribute to improve understanding of oil spills? (What are your research questions?)

I am exploring the possibilities to test the effect of oil spills and related marine snow on benthic meiofauna. These tests have not been done before, so not much is known about the effects that oil spills could have on benthic meiofauna. I want to develop a test method for this. Also I am working with two phd students on an ecotox aquarium experiment with benthic macrofauna. Right now, we are trying to integrate meiofauna in this macrofauna experiment so we can test the effects of oil and marine snow on both groups in the same experimental set-up. By keeping organisms of both groups in the same aquaria, we mimic a more natural environment.

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Marcia Trillo, Student of the Month, May 2016

Marcia Trillo, Student of the Month, May 2016

Our Near-field and far-field modeling group is working to recreate oil spills under varying conditions. Applying strong currents and adding dispersants which changes droplet sizes in computer models can make predicting their eventual fate easier. Marcia Trillo, a M.S. student studying in Dr. Claire Paris' lab, is helping answer questions about oi-water interactions.

Marcia is the C-IMAGE Student of the Month for May 2016. We asked her about her past studies and research for this month's blog.

What is the focus of your research, how will your results contribute to improve understanding of oil spills? (What are your research questions?)

Our goal is to use visualization techniques to trace the evolution of oil plumes and optimize evaluation with observations. We use the CMS (Connectivity Modeling System), which is an oil spill application of the community modeling system, based on a stochastic, multi-scale Lagrangian framework developed by Dr. Claire Paris. The CMS uses the droplet size distribution and biodegradation rates from high pressure experiments as input, and its output is then tested against the data set collected during and post the Deepwater Horizon Event.

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Antonio Nava-Fernández, Student of the Month, April 2016

Antonio Nava-Fernández, Student of the Month, April 2016

The past three months have featured students from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México who study the deep-sea environments and micropalentology. Antonio Nava-Fernández (Tonio) studies benthic foraminfera in the Bay of Campeche.

Tonio is our C-IMAGE Student of the Month for April.

How are your studies and their results helping to understand oil spills?

The results that were obtained on populations of benthic foraminifera, they help understand the effects generated natural and anthropogenic events such as oil spills. This understanding is possible because foraminifera are sensitive to variations in conditions of water mass where they live, they are affected by changes in nutrient availability, O2 concentrations, organic matter, pH and the presence of contaminants, among other factors. These alterations result in changes in the patterns of abundance, diversity, morphology and isotopic composition of foraminifera.

So that by analyzing these populations in stratigraphic sequences collected in areas that have been affected by a stressful event as it is an oil spill, it is possible to know the status of populations before, during and after the spill.

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Adriana Gaytán-Caballero, Student of the Month, March 2016

Adriana Gaytán-Caballero, Student of the Month, March 2016

¿Por qué decidiste estudiar en la UNAM-ICML?/Why did you decide to study at UNAM-ICML?

Elegí realizar mis estudios en la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) porque es la mejor universidad en mi país, es pública (da la misma oportunidad de estudio a personas con diferentes recursos económicos), y porque los investigadores que trabajan en la misma, desarrollan proyectos en conjunto a nivel internacional, así como proyectos con enfoques en investigación actual y necesaria para nuestro país.

I decided make my studies on our National Autonomus University because it is the best University in Mexico, is public (same opportunity for students of different incomes) and because researchers at UNAM have international projects and focuses on the actual knowledge needed to our country.

En particular, elegí realizar mi posgrado en el ICML (Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología), debido a que la investigadora Elva Escobar-Briones trabaja en el instituto y es mi tutora. La Dra Escobar tiene una excelente trayectoria como investigadora, desarrollando ciencia de alto impacto en un nivel internacional, en particular en temas de mar profundo.

In particular, I decided make my postgrad on ICML (Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología) because professor Elva Escobar-Briones is working there and she is my advisor. Professor Escobar has an excellent research background, developing science of high impact on international level, in particular on deep sea ecosystems.

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Laura Gómez, Student of the Month, February 2016

Laura Gómez, Student of the Month, February 2016

¿Porque decidió estudiar en la UNAM – ICMyL?/Why did you decide to study at UNAM-ICML?

Porque en el ICMyL se desarrollan los temas de investigación que son de mi interés, los cuales están relacionados con estudios micropaleontológicos, especialmente aquellos realizados con foraminíferos en un  contexto paleoceanográfico.

Because the UNAM- ICMyL develops the research topics that are of my interest, which are related to micropaleontological studies, especially those made with foraminifera in a paleoceanographic context.

¿Cómo sus resultados ayudan a comprender los derrames de petróleo?/How do your results help understand oil spills?

Al comparar la abundancia, diversidad y riqueza de poblaciones de foraminíferos bentónicos en secuencias de sedimento superficial submuestreadas a una resolución de 0.2 mm y colectadas alrededor de la zona de derrame de petróleo (Ixtoc) se puede comparar como se comportaban estas poblaciones antes, durante y después del evento, tratar de comprender como este agente externo “nocivo” repercutió en la ecología de organismos bentónicos, cuanto tiempo paso antes de que afectara a la población y  como ha sido la recuperación de los mismos.

By comparing the abundance, diversity and richness of the populations of benthic foraminifera in a sequence of surface sediment subsampled at a resolution of 0.2 mm and collected around the area of oil spill (Ixtoc) we can compare how the population behave before, during and after the event. With this study we try to understand how this "harmful" foreign agent affected the ecology of benthic organisms, how much time before it affected the populations and how long is takes to be recovered.

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Travis Washburn, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, January 2016

Travis Washburn, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, January 2016

'Why does the deep sea matters?' can be answered differently depending on who you ask. If you ask Travis Washburn, PhD student at Harte Research Institute/Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, he'll describe nutrients moving up through the food web, and ecosystem services of communities living in the sediments - the main topic of his research with Dr. Paul Montagna.

Travis looks to take a seemingly isolated region, the deep ocean benthic communities, and link it to human benefits and the impact of future spills to the seafloor. Travis' work makes him the C-IMAGE Student of the Month for January 2016.

What is your research focused on, how will your results contribute to improve understanding of oil spills? (What are your research questions?)

My research is focused on assessing how the Deepwater Horizon blowout affected benthic communities in the deep Gulf of Mexico as well as effects of natural seepage.  I am also looking at specific benefits that the deep-sea communities provide humans, such as trophic transfer of nutrients and chemicals up the food chain or pollutant burial.  My results should prove very useful in determining the extent and effects of future deep-sea blowouts on the seafloor.  They will also show if and how human-caused hydrocarbon releases differ from areas where hydrocarbons naturally enter the environment.  The examination of ecosystem services provided by the deep-sea will try to partly answer the question “Why does the deep sea matter” as well as help to put some value on damages there.

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Inok Jun, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, December 2015

Inok Jun, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, December 2015

We may never know precisely how oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon well on April 20th, 2010, but C-IMAGE modelers are working hard to understand the intricacies of oil blowouts. Inok Jun is a PhD student at Texas A&M University studying with Dr. Scott Scolofsky and working to understand how deeper depths, the addition of dispersants, cross flow currents, and type of oil affect the fate of oil within an ocean.

We asked Inok several questions about her research, past studies, and inspiration to become an oil researcher as part of the C-IMAGE Student of the Month-December 2015.

What is your research focused on, how will your results contribute to improve understanding of oil spills?

My research topic mainly focuses on understanding and predicting the behavior of petroleum fluids in the ocean using the numerical simulation. The transport and fate of petroleum fluids released in the ocean depend on their rise velocity and dissolution rate. Especially in the deep ocean, physical and chemical parameters of bubbles are potentially affected by the formation of clathrate hydrates, yielding unknown mass transfer effects. In my recent study, I have tried to understand the effect of hydrate on fluid particles in the ocean to predict the oil spills more accurately.

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Jennifer Granneman, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, November 2015

Jennifer Granneman, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, November 2015

Tracking fish throughout their life cycle has improved tremendously over the past decades thanks to advancements in isotope chemistry and natural fish tags. Jennifer Granneman studies the otiliths (ear bones) of fish to see if their exposure to pollutants like oil occurred following the Deepwater Horizon spill. Jen is a PhD student at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science, and is the C-IMAGE Student of the Month for November.

We asked Jen several questions about her past academic career and path into her PhD research, and here experience using lasers.

What is your research focused on, how will your results contribute to improve understanding of impacts of oil spills? What stage of research are you currently in?

As part of my dissertation work, I am using otolith microchemistry to determine whether several offshore fish species in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) were exposed to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill.  Otoliths are aragonite stones located in the ears of fish that record both fish age and ambient water chemistry throughout the lifetime of the fish.  My project utilizes the ability of fish otoliths to record the environmental conditions that a fish has been exposed to throughout its lifetime to assess the exposure of individual fish to the DWH oil spill.  One of the benefits of measuring otolith microchemistry is that we can establish baseline ambient water conditions that a fish was exposed to prior to the DWH oil disaster. 

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Nine Henricksson, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, October 2015

Nine Henricksson, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, October 2015

Previous students of the month blogs have focused on hydrocarbon degradation at high pressure and in anerobic environments, and remote sensing and optical oceanography. Now we look at a more biological factor studied through C-IMAGE...Microbes.

Although you cannot sea them, the microbes Nine Henricksson works with at the University of West Florida have incredible impacts on hydrocarbon degradation in the Gulf of Mexico. The implications of Nine's work - mapping microbial communities in the Gulf of Mexico determining driving factors for their populations - makes her our C-IMAGE student of the month for October.

Nine is a Master's student at the University of West Florida's Center for Environmental Diagnosis and Bioremediation, studying with Wade Jeffery and Richard Snyder (Virginia Institute of Marine Science). We asked Nine several questions about her path and her research highlighting her as the Student of the Month.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Kate Dubickas

R/V Weatherbird Log-Kate Dubickas

Not many places in the world does time stretch, compress, and become seemingly relative, but the middle of the ocean is one of them.

This includes my last four days aboard the Weatherbird II out here in the near middle of the Southern Gulf of Mexico. A group of five, including myself, Jeremy Browning, Dr. David Hollander, Dr. Patrick Schwing, and Dr. Isabel Romero met up with the Weatherbird II late morning on September 26 to exchange crew and begin our journey back to Saint Petersburg, Florida from Tuxpan, Veracruz.

I was invited on this research cruise as an opportunistic Zooplankton Ecologist. With the fish folks done with their sampling endeavors, our trek back to Saint Petersburg allowed for some Bongo Net deployments along the way; every 45 nautical miles or so. Every 45 nautical miles breaks down to about every 4.5 hours.

My name is Kate Dubickas, I am a second year master’s student at the University of South Florida, and this is my first research cruise where my mission was focused on sleeping in increments of 4 hours and collecting zooplankton.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Jeremy Browning

R/V Weatherbird Log-Jeremy Browning
I have the privilege of cruising back on a transect from Tuxpan, Mexico to St. Pete aboard the RV Weatherbird II, collecting planktonic fish eggs for DNA barcoding. You should know, as I told someone a few days ago: this IS my first rodeo.
 
My previous experiences have been in the realm of freshwater systems, so I am accustomed to grabbing a bucket, a net, and a notebook and wading in a creek for just a few hours collecting crayfish, grass shrimp, and sometimes mussels.
 
Given the lack of experience at sea, and being the type that obsesses over detail, preparing for this trip came with some degree of anxiety. I spent several weeks prior to flying into Mexico planning, packing, and making lists. Of the meticulous planning, I now say: That's cute. Those best laid plans are for naught in the face of circumstance.
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R/V Weatherbird Log-Gustavo Enciso Sánchez

R/V Weatherbird Log-Gustavo Enciso Sánchez

Antes de hacerles saber mis comentarios sobre lo observado en mi corta estancia a bordo del R/V Weatherbird II, deseo agradecer al Dr Murawski la invitación a este crucero.

Before expressing my comments regarding what I observed during my short stay on the R/V Weatherbird II, I want to thank Dr. Murawski for the invitation to participate on the cruise.

En resumen fue una experiencia agradable, observe orden y coordinación tanto en cubierta como en comedor y camarotes. El arte de pesca y tipo de draga empleados fue algo que no había observado antes aunque me llama la atención que no pescaron de noche.

In summary, it was a nice experience, I saw order and coordination on the deck, as well as on the galley and staterooms. I had not seen before the type of fishing gear and dredge used on this cruise and it called my attention that no fishing was conducted at night.

En el B/O Justo Sierra se hace la pesca por arrastre de red y se trabaja durante las 24 horas pero al parecer los objetivos de los estudios difieren. Lamento no haber podido auxiliar más a Brittany y los demás integrantes del equipo de trabajo y me siento un poco apenado de no hablar su idioma. Les reitero mi agradecimiento.

During the cruised on the B/O Justo Sierra, we trawl a bottom net and work 24 hours a day but it seems that the objectives of this study are slightly different.  I am sorry for not being able to provide more assistance to Brittany and the rest of the sediment team and I am embarrassed of not speaking their language. I reiterate my gratitude.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Erin Pulster

R/V Weatherbird Log-Erin Pulster

Day 19 onboard the R/V Weatherbird II for the C-Image II Southern Gulf of Mexico expedition.  Last night, while transiting across Bahia de Campeche, we were able to view the supermoon lunar eclipse, also known as the “blood moon”.  This seems fitting considering our cruises are known as “Mud & Blood”.

I can’t imagine a better place to stargaze and watch such a spectacular event that will not occur again for another 18 years.  Students, scientists and crew were scattered around the Weatherbird with all eyes in the sky.  With every rolling wave, the giant blood moon bounced across the sky, appearing so close as if you could reach out and grab it.  Luna bonita.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Antonio Frausto Castillo

R/V Weatherbird Log-Antonio Frausto Castillo

El trabajo observado para la colecta de organismos y sedimentos nos muestra otras técnicas de pesca así como la toma de las muestras. Donde se puede obtimizar el volumen de muestra para diversos análisis por organismo.

The work observed collecting organisms and sediments samples shows us other fishing techniques as well as taking samples. Where you can optimize the volume of samples for diverse analysis of the organism.

También vemos que el arte de pesca utilizado nos permite obtener organismos de mayor talla y por lo tanto se pueden observar mejor las posibles malformaciones teratogénicas y los posibles efectos de la contaminación en los diversos tejidos y órganos.

We also see that the fishing gear used allows us to obtain greater sizes and therefore we can better observe birth defects and effects of contamination in the various tissues and organs.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Itzel Michael López Durán

R/V Weatherbird Log-Itzel Michael López Durán

En la colaboración del Dr. Steve de la Universidad del Sur de Florida y del Dr. Adolfo Gracia de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México pude observar diferencias en la forma de trabajo; debido a que el arte de pesca nosotros durante 10 años de estudio del Golfo de México hemos trabajado con red de arrastre en zonas costeras por lo que no nos permite obtener muestra de organismos de tallas mayores. Sin embargo en esta ocasión las especies son diversas a las que generalmente se vienen trabajando.

In collaboration with Dr. Steve (Murawski) of the University of South Florida and Dr. Adolfo Gracia of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México could observe differences in the form of work; we have been studying the Gulf of Mexico for 10 years using coastal trawl in coastal zones that do not allow us to collect organism samples of the same sizes. However, this time the species are different from those we generally work with.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Martin Ramirez

R/V Weatherbird Log-Martin Ramirez

La experiencia a bordo del buque de investigación Weatherbird II ha sido de gran importancia en mi carrera profesional, ya que me dejó gran aprendizaje, amigos, asi como la interacción con colegas. Todo ello me permitió intercambiar ideas entre diferentes investigadores y pudimos establecer líneas de investigacion con la información que se ha generado entre las instituciones involucradas en esta campaña oceanográfica.

My experience in board of the research vessel Weatherbird II has been of great relevance for my professional carrer. I take with me a lot of learnings, friends, and the interaction with colleagues. This let me interchange ideas with different scientist and we could established subjects for future research with the information generated by the institutions involved in this oceanographic cruise.

Por medio de observaciones a lo largo de esta campaña, pudimos constatar que ciertos peces se distribuyen por todo el Golfo de México, por ello, es ahí donde radica la importancia de los esfuerzos de colaboración interinstitucionales (UNAM, USF, TAMUCC). La complementación de información, generada y por generar acerca de las condiciones del Golfo de México es de gran relevancia para la sustentabilidad de los recursos que genera este ecosistema.

This journey let us see that certain fishes are distributed all a long the Gulf of Mexico, at that point, the inter-institutional  (UNAM, USF, TAMUCC) cooperation is relevant. The complement of information already generated and still to be generated further, about the conditions of the Gulf of Mexico is fundamental for the sustainability of the resources that this ecosystem generates.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Joel Ortega Ortiz

R/V Weatherbird Log-Joel Ortega Ortiz

This cruise has been a great opportunity to investigate fish species that live near the continental shelf edge in the southern Gulf of Mexico and make comparisons to what previous C-IMAGE cruises have found in the northern Gulf.

While fish caught in the deeper stations (golden tilefish, king snake eel, yellowedge grouper and hake) are familiar to researchers who have done the same work in the northern Gulf, they have seen different species on the shelf in the Campeche Bank.  Information on species diversity across regions of the Gulf will be very valuable for the ecological models we are developing for C-IMAGE.

Results from this cruise will be particularly useful for the Atlantis model I am working on, which focuses on Campeche Bay and the areas potentially affected by the 1979 Ixtoc oil spill. Having first-hand knowledge of the fish communities in this area will be useful for my work at USF.

The cruise has also given me an opportunity to return to a part of the world that is dear to me.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Brittany Verbeke

R/V Weatherbird Log-Brittany Verbeke

A little about myself: I was born in Florida, grew up in Colorado, and came back to Florida to go to Florida State University for undergrad. I graduated last fall with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a minor in Geology, and I am currently working as a lab technician in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science at FSU.

Previously, I participated in the Northern Ecosystems Research for Undergraduates program through the University of New Hampshire, which included going to Sweden to study the thawing permafrost and presenting a poster at the American Geophysical Union conference. I also worked as a research assistant in the Geochemistry department at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, where I studied stable isotope concentrations of meteorites.

Her Research Interests:

While I am most interested in geology, I love anything and everything to do with isotopes; environmental science encompasses all earth systems whether it is geological or biological, and isotopes provide an important representation of these systems.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-22-23 September Update

R/V Weatherbird Log-22-23 September Update

Location as of 7:34am EDT (11:34 UTC): N 18.9188º, W 94.2364º, Water Temperature: 29.9ºC.

22 September Update (From Shannon O'Leary, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi):

We sampled the deep sights at transect 33 Tuesday. First two sets weren't to exciting, dogfish, lots of wenchmen, a grouper or two and a few snake eels. We did get two large spider crabs, a scalloped hammerhead and we had a bird come hang out a top the Weatherbird flagpole.

We hit the jackpot on the last site (33-150) with 15 tilefish and 15 or so Gulf hake - that means we've caught tilefish in and outside the area potentially affected by the oil spill, similar to the way they've been analyzed in the Northern Gulf. Susan found really high PAHs in their bile (highest ever recorded in a fish if I recall her paper correctly) and now we'll be able to see how that compares to the fish down here.

Today is Amy's birthday, so Thomas disguised the smell of chocolate cake baking in the oven with the shrimp he cooked up for lunch and we managed to keep it all a secret until she came up after her shower. The last station was a long one with that many tilefish getting the full treatment (i.e. Kristina's stuff in addition to all the other samples needed to be taken) and then still needing to work up an additional 15 fish after, so a large piece of chocolate cake was a good way to end the night (I'm still digesting my piece now).

Tomorrow we'll be sampling stations 30-150, 100 and 80.

23 September Update (From Steve Murawski, University of South Florida-College of Marine Science):

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Shannon O'Leary

R/V Weatherbird Log-Shannon O'Leary

“Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.

As usual, Anne (with an e!) says it best. People sometimes wonder why a kid growing up smack in the middle central Europe with the ocean at least a then hour drive away in every direction would always answer the question of what she wanted to do when she grew up with “Something with fish and the ocean”. I shall tell you why: I have always been fascinated by the world around us, animals, plants, the physical environment and how everything interacts. New places always meant new ecosystems and new things to discover.

And in some ways the ocean trumps terrestrial ecosystems, because while at first glance all you see is water around you, it is actually a complex system comprised of many ecosystems interacting with each other, each with its unique set of organisms and characterized by specific physical and chemical properties and so while it take a little more effort there seems to always be potential to discover more and more different things.

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Nuttapol Noirungsee, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, September 2015

Nuttapol Noirungsee, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, September 2015
Nuttapol "Ice" Noirungsee studies biodegredation of methane and methane-oil mixtures at high pressure and low temperature as a PhD student at Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH). The name 'Ice' originally comes from his parents (a Thai tradition for given nicknames), but his colleagues from TUHH think it is for the German high speed rail, the InterCity Express, for his walking speed around the lab and campus.
 
His interest in oil science began through an undergraduate scholarship through Mahidol University where he traveled to met TUHH researchers Rudolf Müller and Ana Valladares Juárez. Keeping in touch with Müller and Gabriela, Nuttapol found an exotic project involving the biologiy and chemistry of petroleum-degrading bacteria. "I was so thrilled that I will know how it feels when building a reactor and talking about oxidizing methane with a monooxygenase!" Nuttapol said. Over the past few years, Nuttapol's research has continued to progress and support the goals of TUHH and C-IMAGE.
 
We asked Nuttapol more about his interests in oil science and how his research contributes to that of TUHH and C-IMAGE.
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