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.


Accolades (20)

"In 2016, Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) published approximately 1600 papers in diverse fields encompassing the full spectrum of environmental quality research. As a result of our rigorous peer review process, we know that every paper that we published was novel, substantive, and of high quality. But some papers were particularly memorable because they introduced important new ideas or applied cutting-edge tools to solve critical societal problems. To identify these noteworthy papers, we asked the journal’s Editorial Advisory Board to rank approximately 100 exceptional papers identified by the our Associate Editors over the course of the year. From among the top-ranked papers, I chose best papers in the categories of Environmental Science, Environmental Technology, Environmental Policy, and Features. Ranking all of those papers was a tough job, and we are particularly grateful to tireless efforts of Professor Nathalie Tufenkji (McGill University), the chair of the selection committee, and the participating members of the Editorial Advisory Board."

The Journal Environmental Science & Technology has named our C-IMAGE funded paper on a thermodynamic model of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as the 1st runner up (2nd best) Technology paper in 2016.

See the announcement here:

This paper was previously selected as an ACS Editor’s Choice paper, and was the July 2016, cover of ES&T. We would like to acknowledge the multi center efforts of the C-IMAGE and Deep-C consortia.

The James D. Watkins Student Award for Excellence in Research recognizes exceptional research and presentations at the annual Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Sciences Conference.
At the 2017 conference, three of the five awardees were C-IMAGE students as the best student presentations at the conference.
Travis Washburn, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Deep-Sea Ecosystem Services: Out of Sight but Still Invaluable
Susan Snyder, University of South Florida-College of Marine Science
Forming a Gulf-wide dataset of PAH exposure and accumulation in benthic-dependent teleosts
Aprami Jaggi, University of Calgary
Experimental Simulation of effect of dispersants on Oil-Water Partitioning of low-molecular weight compounds during a deep submarine oil spill

Estuaries and Coasts, the official journal of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) has selected Dr. Montagna as Co-Editor-in-Chief. Montagna is the Endowed Chair for Ecosystems and Modeling at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and a Regents Professor in the Texas A&M University System.

Click here to read the full article.

Dr. Kevan Main has been the Director of the Mote Aquaculture Park in Sarasota, FL since 2001. Recently, Main has been managing the health and prosperity of the Ecotoxicology studies at the Aquaculture Park.

Dr. Main was honored as a "Champion of Change for Sustainable Seafood" by the White House in early December. Congratulations Dr. Main, and thank you for your efforts for C-IMAGE.

Full article here.

Melissa Rohal, a PhD student under Paul Montagna at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi/Harte Research Institute, placed first among PhD candidates at the 3 Minute Thesis competition in Corpus Christi. Contestants have three minutes to share the significance of their work and findings, something which would normally take about an 45 minutes to an hour.

Rohal analyzes the ecosystem services of worms and other invertebrates (meio- and macrofauna) living in the Gulf's sediments. These creatures provide the base of the food web across the Gulf, with some communities more heavily impacted than others after Deepwater Horizon. Melissa is working closely with our task 6 members to model and anticipate changes to ecosystem services provided by these invertebrates.

Melissa will compete at the regional competition in March 2017 at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. Congratulations Melissa!

Shaojie Sun, a PhD student at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science, has been selected as a fellow to the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) for his research on remotely sensed oil spills. His project title "Ocean Surface Oil Detection and Quantification with Hyperspectral and Multispectral Optical Remote Sensing" is a reflection of his C-IMAGE research to better understand the volume of an oil slick through satellite imagery.

Shaojie is in his third year of he PhD program with his major advisor and C-IMAGE researcher Dr. Chuanmin Hu. In Shaojie's time at USF, he has produced many key publications, including a pair of first-author publications, developing the application of satellites on oil spills and oil slicks. One notable publication was the hindcast of the 1979 Ixtoc I spill in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Sun, Hu, and Dr. Wes Tunnell utilized old imagery from the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZSC) and Landsat Multispectral Scanner to see where oil traveled during the nine-month well spill. Full publication can be found here.

The purpose of the NESSF is to ensure continued training of a highly qualified workforce in disciplines required to achieve NASA’s scientific goals. Awards resulting from the competitive selection are made in the form of training grants to the respective universities and educational institutions, with the faculty advisor serving as the principal investigator. 

"Shaojie has been conducting oil spill remote sensing research under support of both NASA and C-IMAGE. A significant challenge is how to remotely estimate surface oil volume or oil slick thickness from an oil spill," said Dr. Chuanmin Hu, Sun's advisor. "One of the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster is that such a practical solution is critical in planning mitigation effort and assessing impacts but was simple not available," Hu continued.

"Shaojie's work is expected to make significant advances in this research direction to help prepare for future oil spill response."

To read the full list of NASA NESSF16 recipients and their project titles, click here.


Our latest C-IMAGE publication "Simulating Gas Liquid-Water Partitioning and Fluid Properties of Petroleum Mixtures under Pressure: Implications for Deep-Sea Blowouts" was selected to be featured in ACS Editors' Choice in addition to being published in Environmental Science & Technology. 

Under ACS Editors' Choice, this article has been sponsored for immediate open access by ACS due to its potential for broad public interest, an honor given to one article each day of the year. 

Congratulations to our near field modeler Scott Socolofsky for this acknowledgement.  The full citation will be available here at a future datewhen it's available.




ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Each year, the College of Marine Science at USF awards merit-based fellowships to students that achieve academic and research excellence.  We are proud to announce that many of the recipients this year are C-IMAGE students.  We wish them all a very warm and enthusiastic CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Congratulations to...


William and Elsie Knight Endowed Fellowship for Marine Science:   Susan Snyder

William and Elsie Knight Endowed Fellowship for Marine Science:  Kristina Deak

Garrels Memorial Fellowship in Marine Science:  Lindsey Dornberger

The Jack and Katharine Ann Lake Fellowship in Marine Science:  Shaojie Sun





CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A newly mapped area of the Gulf of Mexico sea bottom will include geographic features named for the Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies and its Endowed Chair for Biodiversity and Conservation Science Dr. Wes Tunnell.

Tunnell Mound is located on the upper continental slope south of Louisiana, and Harte Bank is located on the outer continental shelf among the South Texas Banks off southern Texas. Both were approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names this fall.

“It is a great honor and privilege to have something in the Gulf of Mexico named for me and my work. It is a good example of how collaborative work and sharing of data can pay off in the long run,” Tunnell said.

For the full story, please visit Harte Research Institute's release.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and is an international non-profit organization “dedication to advancing science for the benefit of all people.”

According to AAAS, “These individuals have been elevated to this rank because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” The gold and blue rosette pin awarded each new Fellow. Courtesy American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Fellows from USF are:

Professor Kendra L. Daly, Ph.D., College of Marine Science;

Dean and Professor Jacqueline Eaby Dixon, Ph.D., College of Marine Science;

Professor Steven A. Murawski, Ph.D., College of Marine Science.

Daly: “For distinguished contributions to the field of ocean science, particularly for advancing knowledge of Antarctic marine food webs and ecosystem dynamics in ice covered seas.”

Jacqueline E. Dixon: “For distinguished contributions to the fields of marine science and geology.”

Murawski: “For distinguished contributions to the fields of fisheries and marine ecosystem science, particularly for theoretical and empirical contributions to understanding the dynamics of exploited ecosystems.”

AAAS will present its official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin, representing science and engineering, in February at its annual AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2016 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The formal announcement appears in the AAAS News & Notes section of the Nov. 25 issue of “Science” magazine.

For the full AAAS press release, click here.

Florida SeaGrant has implemented a "Friday Interview Series" with the 2014 Guy Harvey Scholars.  What are the marine scientists of tomorrow doing?  See the full interview with our very own Kristina Deak from the University of South Florida and Mote Marine Laboratory.  


Who will be the marine scientists of tomorrow? 

It's Friday and that means it's time for another interview with one of our amazing 2014 Guy Harvey Scholars!

Meet Kristina Deak. She's a master's student at USF and is studying how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected the immune system of fish.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about your research? 

A. I study how the oil spill affected the immune system of fish, particularly red snapper and golden tilefish. My primary focus is on cytokines, which are key regulators of the inflammatory response. 

Q. Is there a particular event or memory that made you interested in the ocean?

A. I read “Shark Lady,” a book about Eugenie Clark, when I was a kid and became absolutely obsessed with sharks and other fishes. It still boggles my mind when I walk past her door at the lab now – she was the woman who built Mote and the reason we all get to do what we do there.

Q. What do you do in your free time? 

A. Between being a full time chemist at Mote and a full time graduate student at USF, I don’t have a great deal of free time. When I do, I like to explore our beautiful state, scuba dive, run, and visit all of the local parks and trails. 

Q. What are your career plans?

A. I currently handle the Biomarker portion of the Environmental Forensics Lab at Mote Marine Laboratory. It’s a great place to work and has reaffirmed my interest in being a research scientist and applying biochemistry to environmental problems.

Dr. Jeff Chanton and Dr. Allan Clarke have been chosen by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) as the 2015 AGU Fellows. Both professors, from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space sciences in the eyes of their peers, this respect is shared by section and focus group committees.

Dr. Chanton and his lab studies emissions and cycling of the carbon gasses methane and carbon dioxide. Chanton is interested in methane gas hydrates, estimated as large reservoirs of fossil fuels to be mined.

Dr. John Farrington is a GoMRI board member and professor at Wood Hole Oceanographic Institute. His research interests include marine organic geochemistry, biogeochemistry of organic chemicals of environmental concern, and the interaction between science and policy.

For the full GoMRI press release on Chanton & Clarke, click here. For a full list of 2015 AGU Fellows, click here.


Last week at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, two of our C-IMAGE students were selected to receive the Admiral James D. Watkins Award.  The James D. Watkins Award is presented only when the highest standard of merit has been proven and recognizes those who have distinguished themselves as champions of ocean science through sponsorship of legislation, development of sound ocean policy, or promoting federal investment to advance the field of oceanography.

We couldn't be more proud!  Kristina Deak is a PhD student of Dr. Steve Murawski, and Lindsey Dornberger is a PhD student of Dr. Cameron Ainsworth.


C-IMAGE PI with his two students at the USF Fellowship Luncheon (Susan Snyder, left and Marcy Cockrell, right)

On October 3, 2014, the University of South Florida College of Marine Science recognized the 2014 – 2015 fellowship award recipients and their generous supporters at the Third Annual College of Marine Science Fellowship Luncheon at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. Through the leadership of Dean Jacqueline Dixon and former Deans Peter Betzer and William Hogarth, our $8.1M fellowship endowments provide ~$350K/yr for fellowships and honorable mentions to our graduate students. Congratulations to all!

C-IMAGE students Susan Snyder, Marcy Cockrell, Michelle Masi, Jennifer Granneman and Jenny Fenton were all recognized and awarded fellowships.  C-IMAGE is very proud these students!


Bill Hogarth awards Jenny Fenton with the William T. Hogarth Fellowship in Marine Mammals.

Dean Dixon awards Michelle Masi with the Carl D. Riggs Sr. Endowed Fellowship.

Dean Dixon awards Susan Snyder with the Robert M. Garrels Fellowship.

Jennifer Granneman accepts the Knight Fellowship.

C-IMAGE Awards Travel Grants to 5 Students to Attend Gulf of Mexico Conference

Congratulations to Karen Malone, Shokouh Rahsepar, Lauren Reilly, Martina Schedler, and Sophie Vonk!


Corday Selden gave a superb presentation on "Correctional changes in benthic foraminifera abundance and sedimentary redox conditions after the Deepwater Horizon Blowout Event and successfully defended her senior thesis.  She presented at the Sigma XI Research Symposium at Eckerd College, May 2014.

Congratulations to our TUHH Team for making 3rd Place in the Blue Competition! The Blue Competition is a GLOBAL competition that revolves around the gas analysis in Bioprocessing

"In the third place, it created the group of the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. The group of Martina Schedler, Nneka Mary Rose Enwena, Dr. Ana Gabriela Valladares Juárez and Prof. Rudolf Müller of the Institute of Technical Biocatalysis at TUHH studied biodegradation processes of crude oil after the Deepwater Horizon disaster (we already reported about this group of participants during the project phase). 

BlueSens would like to thank the many groups of participants who took part in the competition this year. 

Selected project reports will be published soon as collective work as a "Report No.3" BlueSens."

Congratulations to Dr. Steve Murawski on his appointment to the National Academy of Sciences' Ocean Studies Board!! 

"I appreciate very much the opportunity to serve on the National Academy’s Ocean Studies Board. The Board is the premier independent evaluator of the quality and relevance of ocean science supported by federal, state and private agencies and entities. It provides expert evaluations and advice to the agencies and interacts with administrators and experts at the highest levels of government. The opportunity to work under Chairman Robert Duce (Texas A&M) and with its talented cadre of volunteer members and full-time staff to evaluate topical science priorities for the Gulf of Mexico and the nation is a unique professional opportunity. I hope to both learn more about the priorities for ocean research and monitoring and plans for the nation and to contribute in some way to their success”.

Angela Fermin, a Choctaw High School student mentored by Dr. Wade Jeffrey (a member of both the Deep-C and C-IMAGE consortia), won first place in the Environmental Sciences Division of her regional science fair. The title of her project is "Sensitivity of marine bacterioplankton to crude oil and fuels". She also received a two year scholarship at NW Florida College, the Excellence in Science recognition award from the US Army, and a recognition award from the Association for Women Geoscientists. Congratulations!!!!!

Congratulations to Karen Malone, a PhD student at the Technical University of Hamburg at Harburg for receiving the James D. Watkins award for excellence in research.  Ms. Malone was acknowledged for her poster "A new experimental module for the investigation of deep-sea oil spills under in-situ conditions" that was presented at the GoMRI Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in January.  Great job, Karen!!!

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!

Listen to More Podcasts!