Friday 28 July 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.

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.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Joel Ortega-Ortíz

R/V Weatherbird Log-Joel Ortega-Ortíz

USF-Marine Science | Fishing Team, Ecosystem Modeling

I am part of the ecological modelling team of C-IMAGE. More specifically, I am working on an Atlantis model for the southern Gulf of Mexico. During the first leg of the 2017 One Gulf cruise I helped setting and recovering the long line and also served as a translator.

This cruise visited a part of the Gulf of Mexico where I had never been before. Before the cruise I was looking forward to seeing the area and learning about the environmental conditions and the fish species that occur there and how they compare to other regions. I was aware that the Loop Current current flows through the area bringing in water from the Caribbean Sea. So, I expected that we would catch some fish species from the Caribbean region in addition to those we had seen in other parts of the Gulf. I also discussed with other researchers the fact that maps showed a narrow continental shelf and we were concerned that setting the fishing gear at a specific depth would be more challenging than in other cruises. Nevertheless, I was really excited to be part of the expedition and complete the sampling work across the entire gulf. I was also excited to meet our Cuban colleagues and learn about their work and their experiences.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Education Day-Ben Prueitt

R/V Weatherbird Log-Education Day-Ben Prueitt

USF Marine Science | Outreach & Operations

Making expectations for this cruise was difficult, on top of me having only one leg of a Mud & Blood cruise under my belt, a collaborative cruise to Cuba has not occurred in 50 years. I was most excited to meet and interact with Cuban researchers, practice my Spanish, and share perspectives of studying shared Gulf waters. For Americans, Cuba has always been this ‘forbidden fruit’, while the history between our countries has been controversial or cold, I quickly learned the people are warm and welcoming, respectful, and curious about research and cultural differences.

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R/V Weatherbird Blog-Susan Snyder

R/V Weatherbird Blog-Susan Snyder

After this cruise to Cuba, I have circumnavigated the Gulf of Mexico on the R/V Weatherbird II!

I have participated in each Mud & Blood cruise since 2012, from the northern Gulf, to the Yucatan, Bay of Campeche, Texas and now Cuba.  On all of these cruises, I have collected samples for my research, which is measuring levels of toxic hydrocarbons in the tissues of red snapper and golden tilefish.

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R/V Weatherbird Log-Adrian Martínez Suárez

R/V Weatherbird Log-Adrian Martínez Suárez

Centro de Investigaciones Marinas-University of Havana | Recent sediments for paleo-environmental studies, Mud team

¿Cuáles fueron sus expectativas en el crucero? ¿Científicamente? ¿Colaborativamente?

Siempre esperé aprender mucho durante la estancia en el WeatherBird II. Ciertamente superó mis expectativas, conocer toda la mecánica de trabajo y colaborar de conjunto con científicos de alto rango a nivel internacional ha sido una de las mejores experiencias de mi vida.

What were your expectations leading into the cruise? Scientifically? Collaboratively?

I was hoping to learn a lot during my stay in the WeatherBird II and of course I did. Certainly it was beyond my expectations, to know all the work procedure and to collaborate with internationals high range scientists had been one of the greatest experiences in my life.

¿Qué era lo que más esperaba durante el crucero?

Sin dudas lo más esperado era experimentar la navegación en alta mar y el trabajo abordo.

What were you most looking forward to during the cruise?

Without any doubts the thing I was more excited about was to experiment the navigation and life at deep waters, and to work on board.

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