Thursday 22 March 2018

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.


Whether in the field or in the lab, C-IMAGE highlights the research of our members and our students.

R/V Weatherbird Blog-Dr. Travis Washburn

R/V Weatherbird Blog-Dr. Travis Washburn

So this is my third Mud & Blood cruise, and my focus is definitely on the mud!

One Gulf Expedition Hub

My name is Travis Washburn, and I work at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.  My dissertation focused on the impacts of oil on the deep Gulf of Mexico communities living in the mud.  My lab is hoping to use samples collected in the same places over the last several years to determine how communities in the deep naturally change over time.

Without knowledge on these natural changes it is very difficult to determine whether the Deepwater Horizon spill is still affecting animals to this day or if the changes we have seen over time would have happened regardless of the spill.

While this is the third Mud & Blood cruise I have been on, things feel rather different this go around.  For one thing, I was a lowly graduate student during the first two trips while now I am officially a doctor.  But there is also a mood on the ship, part excitement, part anxiety, and part sadness, as we all know that this seven-year-old project is coming to an end.

There has been a lot of good science that has come from this study, and now it is up to us to continue this important work in new ways.  I am very excited to get back to the lab and look through the mud we have collected.

We left the port Tuesday morning, and in order to get on the schedule of working nights my first task was to go to sleep.  We boarded, finished loading gear, went through the standard safety talks, and then I was off to bed until about 6 P.M. (this is one of the easier jobs on the cruise).  I woke up just in time for dinner, and then it was the waiting game, reading and writing as the boat slowly made its way to our first station.  We came to our first stop around 5 A.M. where we sent our multicorer over the side and hoped that we would get some good mud.  Thirty minutes later the corer is back on board with a lot of water, and just enough mud to work for us.  We moved on to the next station where we also found a lot of water along with a bit of sand.  By then it was after 7 and time to go back to bed to prepare for another night of sampling.

R/V Weatherbird Log-Joel Ortega-Ortíz
R/V Weatherbird Blog-Sam Bosman

Listen to our Podcasts

  • #10 The Risks for Fish +

    #10 The Risks for Fish What happened to the fish in the days and weeks after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? With a suite of Read More
  • #9 Forensic Oceanography +

    Listen to learn how scientists reanalyzed remotely sensed data taken in the late 1970s to study the Ixtoc 1 oil Read More
  • #8 In the Mud in Mexico +

    #8 In the Mud in Mexico “We were of the mind that with studying the Deepwater Horizon in the northern Gulf we weren’t getting a full Read More
  • #7 The Ixtoc Spill: Reflections +

    #7 The Ixtoc Spill: Reflections The Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened just a few years ago, but it might be possible to predict its impact Read More
  • #1 Overview of C-IMAGE +

    #1 Overview of C-IMAGE C-IMAGE PI Dr. Steven Murawski talks to David Levin about the research goals of our center and the importance of Read More
  • #2 Sampling for oil in the sediments in the Gulf of Mexico +

    #2 Sampling for oil in the sediments in the Gulf of Mexico C-IMAGE PI's Steven Murawski and David Hollander on board the Weatherbird II in August of 2012 talking to David Levin Read More
  • #3 The "not-so-visible" impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico +

    #3 The Three years after the BP oil well disaster, scientists are struggling to understand the effects on the Gulf ecosystem. From Read More
  • #4 Fitting the Gulf of Mexico inside a computer: how to build an ecosystem model +

    #4 Fitting the Gulf of Mexico inside a computer: how to build an ecosystem model Mind Open Media's David Levin talks with C-IMAGE members Cameron Ainsworth, Jason Lenes, Michelle Masi and Brian Smith about building Read More
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