Monday 25 September 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.

There are four main questions to be addressed:

(1) What was the trajectory and fate of oil from the Macondo well, including its delivery mechanisms to the seafloor?

(2) What were the physical, chemical, and biological processes that controlled its distribution, abundance, composition, and toxicity?

(3) What were the effects of hydrocarbons on benthic microbial communities?

(4) How do these effects compare with pre-spill samples from the same sites and uncontaminated sites?

The type of oil, ocean and meteorological conditions (e.g. temperature, salinity, weather conditions), and spill location influence the dispersion process, biodegradation, and ecotoxicity of the resulting complex emulsions. Different oil spill response options such as mechanical recovery, use of dispersants, natural dispersion, and mechanical dispersion can be compared with each other in order to decide on the best response option.

This project aims at developing a decision support tool for the possible application of chemical treatments to reduce the impact of an oil spill in relation to the conditions of the spill. Three important aspects are included into the Decision Support Tool (DST): the effects on the physical processes of oil dispersion, the consequences for the bioavailability and degradation of the oil components in the marine environment, and the ecotoxicological effects resulting oil with and without chemical dispersants. This DST includes the following model parameters that will be validated with laboratory and model ecosystem and field research: oil properties (over time and with varying crude oil sources), seawater properties, weather conditions, dispersant addition, and addition of 4th generation dispersant (with bacteria and nutrients).

The results of the three integrated projects are a DST for the best oil spill response given the specific characteristics of the oil spill, its location and environmental conditions. In this research, we include droplet fate over time in terms of dispersion and degradation within the near-surface ocean, the toxicity of the oil and its components, and the dispersion, degradation and toxicity of compounds added as dispersants. This research helps prevent redundant and costly measures that may make the spilled oil more toxic to the ecosystem.

Task 3 Publications

Sargassum coverage in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico during 2010 from Landsat and airborne observations: Implications for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impact assessment

Sargassum coverage in the northeastern Gulf o…

How much Sargassum was in contact with oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill? Usi...

07-13-2016

Progression of a Gulf of Mexico food web supporting Atlantis ecosystem model development

Progression of a Gulf of Mexico food web supp…

This article develops a marine food web matrix for the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) based on ...

05-23-2016

Assessing the impacts of oil-associated marine snow formation and sedimentation during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Assessing the impacts of oil-associated marin…

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest in US history, unprecedented for the ...

02-19-2016

Natural and unnatural oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico

Natural and unnatural oil slicks in the Gulf …

When wind speeds are 2–10 m s−1, reflective contrasts in the ocean surface make oil s...

01-25-2016

Sun glint requirement for the remote detection of surface oil films

Sun glint requirement for the remote detectio…

Natural oil slicks in the western Gulf of Mexico are used to determine the sun glint ...

01-25-2016

Refinement of the critical angle calculation for the contrast reversal of oil slicks under sunglint

Refinement of the critical angle calculation …

It has long been observed that oil slicks under sunglint can reverse their optical co...

01-25-2016

Surface oil footprint and trajectory of the Ixtoc-I oil spill determined from Landsat/MSS and CZCS observations

Surface oil footprint and trajectory of the I…

Surface oil footprint and trajectory of the Ixtoc-I oil spill determined from Landsat...

01-25-2016

Oil slick morphology derived from AVIRIS measurements of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Implications for spatial resolution requirements of remote sensors

Oil slick morphology derived from AVIRIS meas…

Using fine spatial resolution (~ 7.6 m) hyperspectral AVIRIS data collected over the ...

01-25-2016

The role of Mississippi River discharge in offshore phytoplankton blooming in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico during August 2010

The role of Mississippi River discharge in of…

The role of Mississippi River discharge in offshore phytoplankton blooming in the nor...

12-10-2015

Spectral and spatial requirements of remote measurements of pelagic Sargassum macro algae

Spectral and spatial requirements of remote m…

Remote detection of pelagic Sargassum is often hindered by its spectral similarity to...

11-24-2015

Passive acoustic monitoring of beaked whale densities in the Gulf of Mexico

Passive acoustic monitoring of beaked whale d…

Beaked whales are deep diving elusive animals, difficult to census with conventional ...

11-24-2015

Changes in Red Snapper Diet and Trophic Ecology Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Changes in Red Snapper Diet and Trophic Ecolo…

Red Snapper Lutjanus campechanus were sampled at 33 natural and 27 artificial reef si...

11-24-2015

Extracting Oil Slick Features From VIIRS Nighttime Imagery Using a Gaussian Filter and Morphological Constraints

Extracting Oil Slick Features From VIIRS Nigh…

Satellite images of reflected sunlight have been used to detect and monitor oil spill...

11-24-2015

A Rapid Response Study of the Hercules Gas Well Blowout

A Rapid Response Study of the Hercules Gas We…

On 20 April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig lost well control while drilling...

07-08-2015

PAH Exposure in Gulf of Mexico Demersal Fishes, Post-Deepwater Horizon

PAH Exposure in Gulf of Mexico Demersal Fishe…

Following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout, we surveyed offshore demersal fis...

07-07-2015

Detecting surface oil slicks using VIIRS nighttime imagery under moon glint: a case study in the Gulf of Mexico

Detecting surface oil slicks using VIIRS nigh…

Using data collected over the Gulf of Mexico during night between May 2012 and Septem...

07-07-2015

Recent publication studying possible lethal effects of oil and dispersants on Ctenophores

Recent publication studying possible lethal e…

A recent study from the University of Delaware published in Aquatic Biology explored ...

06-12-2015

Habitat and diet of lionfish in the northern Gulf

Habitat and diet of lionfish in the northern …

Habitat-specific density and diet of rapidly expanding invasive red lionfish, Pterois...

09-02-2014

Enhancing the Ocean Observing System to Meet Restoration Challenges in the Gulf

Enhancing the Ocean Observing System to Meet …

Enhancing the ocean observing system to meet restoration challenges in the Gulf of Me...

08-06-2014

External skin lesions and PAH in fish

External skin lesions and PAH in fish

Prevalence of External Skin lesions and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Concentration...

07-02-2014

Accuracy of SeaWiFS Ocean Color Products

Accuracy of SeaWiFS Ocean Color Products

On the Accuracy of SeaWiFS Ocean Color Data Products on the West Florida Shelf Tradi...

06-27-2014

Microalgal production in the sand

Microalgal production in the sand

Sand bottom microalgal production and benthic nutrient fluxes on the northeastern Gul...

06-27-2014

Using SIPPER3 for anomalous particle detection

Using SIPPER3 for anomalous particle detectio…

Detection of Anomalous Particles from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Using the SIPPE...

06-27-2014

Using MODIS and MERIS to detect seeps

Using MODIS and MERIS to detect seeps

In search of oil seeps in the Cariaco basin using MODIS and MERIS medium resolution d...

06-27-2014

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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