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.

Nathali Schmid, Student of the Month, August 2017

Nathali Schmid, Student of the Month, August 2017

C-IMAGE is developing computer models to estimate the fate and concentration of oil. But a major factor of predicting this accurately is knowing what the droplet size distribution was at the well head in a high pressure environment. Tasks 1 & 2 are working together to integrate high-pressure experiments and computer models to provide first responders an accurate estimate of where oil is going.

Nathali Schmid, a M.S. student from the Hamburg Univeristy of Technology (TUHH) recently traveled to the University of Western Australia as part of a student exchange program. Working with Dr. Zachary Aman, Nathali is learning new ways to answer the same question, 'what size are the droplets coming from deep sea well during oil spills?' 

How has your experience been traveling to Perth and the University of Western Australia in the student exchange program?

During the ‘2nd Symposium on Deep-Sea Oil Spills’ at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) in September 2016, I met Prof. Zach Aman for the first time and that is where we figured out a concept for a collaboration. I started to prepare some experiments without even knowing if I will actually be going to Perth. By the time everything was fixed I got really excited.

I have got relatives in Perth which were very welcoming and made Perth feel like home to me immediately.

My first visit to UWA was super impressive as well. The campus with it’s relaxed atmosphere is right next to the beautiful swan river where I enjoy my lunch every now and then.

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Melissa Rohal, Student of the Month, May 2017

Melissa Rohal, Student of the Month, May 2017

Melissa Rohal, a PhD student at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, is on a mission to stick up for the little guys. They're not as attractive as dolphins or sea turtles, but benthic macrofauna are all the rage in the deep ocean. Small animals like worms, copepods and nematodes fill a key role in the food web and act as indicator species of the health of the ecosystem.

While working on her PhD at the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Melissa works to understand the impacts of oil spills on deep-sea ecosystem services provided by meio- and macro-faunal communities. Her researcher and ability to 'stick up for the little guys' makes her the C-IMAGE Student of the Month for May 2017.

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

When I started my education all I knew was that I wanted to study the ocean, so I took a broad approach and entered the Marine Science Program at Coastal Carolina University.  The course work looked at all aspects of oceanography including physical, geological, biological, and chemical.  As I progressed through my degree I took an internship at the Ripley’s aquarium while also helping my professors with research.  From these experiences I discovered that research was what I wanted to pursue.  I was unable to get into graduate school right away so I took a job at the Columbus Zoo helping the keepers in the shores area.

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Xiaoxu Sun, Student of the Month, April 2017

Xiaoxu Sun, Student of the Month, April 2017

Natural oil degrading microbes play a critical role in the ecosystem's response to oil. These bio-degraders are found throughout the Gulf, especially in areas of natural seeps. Different groups of bacteria degrade oil in different stages - first, secondary, and late responders. Their role in cleaning up surface spills is highly studied, but how these degradation processes occur at depth might be quite different.

Xiaoxu Sun, a PhD student at Georgia Institute of Technology School of Biology and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, designs experiments to test the biodegradation process in high-pressures. By simulating the conditions microbes experience at depth, Xiaoxu can assess the impacts of dispersants on degrading oil. His work makes him the C-IMAGE Student of the Month of April 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 Environmental Engineering in China. After that, I came to US to pursue my master’s at Michigan State University, where I studied anaerobic degradation of hydrocarbons in groundwater systems including BETX (benzene, Ethylene, Toluene, and Xylene).  I loved my research experiences at MSU and I wanted to know more about bioremediation processes.

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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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Lindsey Dornberger, Student of the Month, September 2016

Lindsey Dornberger, Student of the Month, September 2016

Lindsey is a PhD student at the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida. She is a part of the Fisheries and Ecosystems Ecology Lab led by Dr. Cameron Ainsworth. 

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

I started my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA)  with the intention of studying large land mammals. I’d always had a love for all things cute and fuzzy, and I thought I’d make a career out of it. While in school, I applied for and was selected as one of four biology scholars for the NSF Undergraduate Training in Theoretical Ecology Research (UTTER) program at UTA. This two year program combined biology and mathematics majors in ecological modeling coursework and research projects. Originally I was disappointed that none of the program mentors had a specialty in lion pride modeling, however I did not anticipate how enraptured I would become in epidemiological modeling. The creativity needed to make a mathematical equation that captured the dynamics of disease transmission among bees in a hive was the exciting challenge I didn’t know I had been looking for.

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Will Overholt, Student of the Month, August 2016

Will Overholt, Student of the Month, August 2016

Will is a PhD student at the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech in Joel Kostka's lab. He is interested in how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected environmental microorganisms, and the possible mechanisms by which the microbial community aided in removing contaminating oil.  The combination of field and lab work makes him our C-IMAGE student of the Month for September 2016. We asked Will some questions so we can get to know him and his research better.

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 GaTech colleagues?

From a “birds-eye-view” my path to Georgia Tech and C-IMAGE seems rather straight forward. I have been fascinated with nature and the environment from a young age, and I was an avid birder by the time I was 8 years old. My father is an Entomologist and with a trusty butterfly net we collected, grouped, and displayed insects from every camping trip and walk that we would take. My mother was trained as a toxicologist / immunologist so I was also widely exposed to the names and effects of common household chemicals as well as diseases and their agents. I was fascinated by the enormous diversity of life and would pester my parents with questions of “Why?”, “Why does the male widowbird have so many colors and such a long tail while the females are a drab brown?”, “Why do you have different eagles in forests vs. savannahs, and why are the savannah eagles so much bigger?”

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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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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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Shaojie Sun, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, August 2015

Shaojie Sun, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, August 2015

Shaojie Sun is a graduate student at the USF-College of Marine Science. Originally from China, he is working towards his PhD in Dr. Chuanmin Hu’s optical oceanography lab.

Sun research “is focused on using satellite images to detect and quantify oil distributions during the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill.” In other words, he looks at satellite images to see where the DWH surface oil went. He also has collaborated on a project deriving the surface oil trajectory of the IXTOC-I oil spill.

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Boryoung Shin, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, July 2015

Boryoung Shin, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, July 2015

We asked Shin a few more questions, and her responses prove that scientists are human too!

(Q) What are you doing today?

(A) I am still recovering from jet lag so I feel a little sleepy honestly (She has just returned from Korea). I have to do lab work during the day, for example, making culture media, doing dishes, sequencing data analysis, etc. I am planning to go to the gym in the evening.

(Q) What are your aspirations (for your research and/or after you graduate, life goals, etc.?)

(A) My major goal in life is to have a happy family by balancing well between my career and family. I cannot decide which career path I want to follow between academia and [corporate] so I want to consider all chances for now. My short term goal is, of course, getting nice results from my work and publish cool papers.

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Aprami Jaggi, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, November 2014

Aprami Jaggi, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, November 2014

Aprami Jaggi is a PhD student studying the partitioning behavior of xenobiotic compounds typically found in oil releases in seawater. She is a student of Steven Larter's and Thomas Oldenburg's out of the University of Calgary's Petroleum Reservoir Group.  She was asked two questions about her research and her daily activities.  

Big Picture

1) What is your research project and why is it important and relevant to the GoM? 

My dissertation research is focussed on the study of the partitioning behaviour of xenobiotic compounds into seawater systems. Xenobiotic compounds are exogenous chemical species (not normally synthesized by an organism) which have the potential to instigate acute or chronic toxicity in organisms, even causing death in extreme cases. Such compounds are found majorly within petroleum and its release in the environment typically follows accidental spillage. The unprecedented quantity of oil released during the blowout of the Macondo well, 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, led to an increased interest in the environmental fate of crude oil xenobiotics.

I aim to experimentally determine the partitioning behavior of water soluble oil components using live oils (methane-charged) with saline waters over a varying range of pressure and temperature, as seen along the depth of the water column. This data will aid in near-field and far-field distribution modeling of the environmental fate of crude oil components of interest (BTEX, phenols and other compounds which might be observed using FTICR-MS and LC-MS technologies) and assist in the prediction of component migration pathways from potential oil spills.

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Shokouh Rahsepar, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, October 2014

Shokouh Rahsepar is a PhD student studying the biodegradation of oil with other particles present. She is a student of Alette Langenhoff's and Martijn Smit's in the Department of Environmental Technology out of Wageningen University in the Netherlands.  She was asked two questions about her research and her daily activities.  

Big Picture

1) What is your research project and why is it important and relevant to the GoM? 

The aim of my research is to improve our understanding of these individual processes, and specifically the effects it has on the biodegradation of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The outcomes of this study will improve the decision support system to select the most effective response option at oil spills.

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Emily Chancellor, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, August 2014

Emily Chancellor is a MS student working on larval fish exposure to oil in the Gulf of Mexico.  She is a student of Steve Murawski's out of the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida.  She was asked two questions about her research and her daily activities. 

 

Big Picture

1) What is your research project and why is it important and relevant to the GoM?

My thesis research focuses on estimating the proportion of larval fish of economically important species that were exposed to oil during the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM).  Larval fish play an important role in determining adult fish populations and are especially vulnerable to oil.  Many economically important species spawn in GoM waters during the time period of the DWH oil spill and their larval fish were likely exposed.  Understanding the proportion of larval fish exposed by species will contribute to understanding the impacts of the DWH oil spill on long-term health of these important fish stocks.  I am looking at historical records of larval fish abundance in the GoM from the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) database and modeling these abundances against the extent of the DWH spill in order to estimate the proportion of each species affected.  I am also investigating how time of year and ocean factors correlate with larval distribution to see if I can predict larval abundance and proportion exposure to hypothetical GoM oil spills occurring in different times and areas.

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687 Hits

Katelyn Houghton, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, September 2014

Katelyn Houghton is a MS student working on the impacts of oil and dispersants on bacterial productivity in the Gulf of Mexico.  She is a student of Wade Jeffrey's out of the Department of Biology and the Center for the Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation at the University of West Florida.  She was asked two questions about her research and her daily activities. 

 

Big Picture

 

1) What is your research project and why is it important and relevant to the GoM?

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675 Hits

Kristen Dahl, C-IMAGE Student of the Month, July 2014

 

 

Little Picture

 

2) What are you doing today?

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713 Hits

Podcasts from The Loop

The Loop is a series of podcasts which take an in depth look at C-IMAGE research. Partnering with Mind Open Media reporters Ari Daniel Shapiro and David Levin, our researchers share the importance of their studies and how they help our understanding of oil spills. David and Ari have produced eight podcasts and have more in the queue. The podcasts are linked below. Plug in and learn about our research!

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