Saturday 27 May 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.

Sara Lincoln
Sara Lincoln
Will Overholt
Will Overholt
Shokouh Rahsepar
Shokouh Rahsepar
Melissa Rohal
Melissa Rohal
Ana Carolina Ruiz Fernandez
Ana Carolina Ruiz Fernandez
Joan Albert Sanchez Cabeza
Joan Albert Sanchez Cabeza
Patrick Schwing
Patrick Schwing
Boryoung Shin
Boryoung Shin
Xiaoxu Sun
Xiaoxu Sun
Travis Washburn
Travis Washburn
Bekka Larson
Bekka Larson
Jennifer Macalady
Jennifer Macalady
Bryan O'Malley
Bryan O'Malley
Rick Kalke
Rick Kalke
Jeff Chanton
Jeff Chanton
Samantha Bosman
Samantha Bosman
Isabel Romero
Isabel Romero
David Hastings
David Hastings
Maria Luisa Machain-Castillo
Maria Luisa Machain-Castillo
Gregg Brooks
Gregg Brooks
Kate Freeman
Kate Freeman
Elva Escobar-Briones
Elva Escobar-Briones
Joel Kostka
Joel Kostka
Paul Montagna
Paul Montagna
Jagos Radovic
Jagos Radovic
David Hollander
David Hollander
Chris Reddy
Chris Reddy
Alette Langenhoff
Alette Langenhoff
Justine Van Eenennaam
Justine Van Eenennaam

Sara Lincoln

Sara Lincoln
Designation: Post-doc Scholar
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: High Pressure Experiments
Expertise: Polar Lipids

Research Interests

  • Oil exposure impacts on microbial communities

 

Will Overholt

Will Overholt
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Microbial Ecology

Research Interests

As a PhD student in Dr. Joel Kostka’s lab, I am 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.

Specifically, I am interested in how indigenous microbial communities initially responded to the oiling event, and how this response evolved overtime. I hope to get at the mechanisms by which the oil was chemically transformed by microbial metabolisms, and what limits or controls these mechanisms. Overall, I hope to aide in developing new approaches to respond to oil spills and increase our predictive capabilities on the effects of oil spills in the environment.

Shokouh Rahsepar

Shokouh Rahsepar
Designation: PhD Student
Institution: Wageningen University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: High Pressure Experiments

Research Interests

  • Environmental Engineering

Ms. Rahsepar is a PhD student at Wageningen University Agrotechnology and Food Sciences in the Sub department of Environmental Technology.

Melissa Rohal

Melissa Rohal
Designation: PhD Student
Institution: Harte Research Institute
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Ecosystems and Modeling

The ecosystems group performs environmental research using a systems view of the coasts and oceans from the bottom-up. We focus mainly on two topics: environmental flows and effects of deep-sea oil and gas activities. Our method, the systems perspective, integrates biotic and abiotic processes to perform applied and fundamental research on benthic ecosystems ranging from rivers to the deep-sea. Studies combine field work, laboratory analyses, ecoinformatics (i.e., ecological information technology), environmental statistics, and modeling. Most importantly, the group integrates natural science findings with socioeconomic studies to create the basic science needed for sound policy and management.

Melissa Rohal is a PhD student studying the optimum pumping quantity and frequency of freshwater into Nueces Delta.  Her expected graduation date is December of 2017.

Ana Carolina Ruiz Fernandez

Ana Carolina Ruiz Fernandez
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

  • Isotope geochemistry
  • Geochemistry of heavy metals and nutrients

Joan Albert Sanchez Cabeza

Joan Albert Sanchez Cabeza
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

  • Global climate change
  • Environmental radiotracers
  • Environmental geochemistry

Patrick Schwing

Patrick Schwing
Designation: Research Scientist
Institution: University of South Florida
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impacts of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Foram Ecology

Research Interests

Sedimentary dynamics and climate history in the coastal and near-shore zones using radionuclides, stable isotopes, and elemental ratios.

Boryoung Shin

Boryoung Shin
Designation: PhD Student
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Microbial Ecology

Research Interests

My research is focused on anaerobic hydrocarbon biodegradation. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico, it became important to know the fate of oil. Oil can be degraded by microbes either by aerobic or anaerobic respiration. Once deposited oil reaches anaerobic zone in the sediment, it has to be degraded without aerobic respiration. I am interested in the microbial community change involved with hydrocarbon oxidation under nitrate-, ferric iron-, and sulfate-reducing conditions. I also have been trying to isolate anaerobic hydrocarbon degraders to understand their degradation rates and biochemical pathways.

Ms. Shin was our Student of the Month in July of 2015.  Read more about her research here!

Xiaoxu Sun

Xiaoxu Sun
Designation: PhD Student
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Microbial Ecology

Research Interests

The deepwater horizon oil spill accident represents the largest accidental marine oil spill in human history. Many efforts have been devoted to understanding the impacts of this catastrophe. My research is focusing on the responses of the microorganisms to the elevated hydrocarbon concentration.

Specifically, I proposed to reveal the correlations between various oceanographic controls (i.e. pressure, temperature, and nutrient level) to microbial hydrocarbon degradation potentials. To accomplish this goal, various techniques, including geochemistry, microbiology, and bioinformatics, are employed.

As oil exploration is heading to pristine areas, like the deepsea and the arctic, potential oil spills will devastate the environment. My research will help to plan effective response strategies for future oil spills.

 

Travis Washburn

Travis Washburn
Designation: PhD Student
Institution: Harte Research Institute
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Ecosystems and Modeling

The ecosystems group performs environmental research using a systems view of the coasts and oceans from the bottom-up. We focus mainly on two topics: environmental flows and effects of deep-sea oil and gas activities. Our method, the systems perspective, integrates biotic and abiotic processes to perform applied and fundamental research on benthic ecosystems ranging from rivers to the deep-sea. Studies combine field work, laboratory analyses, ecoinformatics (i.e., ecological information technology), environmental statistics, and modeling. Most importantly, the group integrates natural science findings with socioeconomic studies to create the basic science needed for sound policy and management.

Travis Washburn is a PhD student studying ecosystem services and human impacts on the deep sea Gulf of Mexico  His expected graduation date is May of 2016.

Travis was our Student of the Month in January of 2016. Click here to read more about his research!

Bekka Larson

Bekka Larson
Designation: PhD Student
Institution: University of South Florida
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impacts of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Sedimentary Geology

Jennifer Macalady

Jennifer Macalady
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

  • What are the ecological rules that govern microbial behavior and evolution?
  • What can modern Earth microorganisms teach us about the biogeochemistry of the early Earth and signatures of life on other planets?

Dr. Macalady is an Associate Professor of Geosciences at Penn State University.

Bryan O'Malley

Bryan O'Malley
Designation: Team Member
Institution: University of South Florida
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments

Research Interests

Bryan O'Malley is a Research Technician at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science.

Rick Kalke

Rick Kalke
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Harte Research Institute
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Ecosystems and Modeling

The ecosystems group performs environmental research using a systems view of the coasts and oceans from the bottom-up. We focus mainly on two topics: environmental flows and effects of deep-sea oil and gas activities. Our method, the systems perspective, integrates biotic and abiotic processes to perform applied and fundamental research on benthic ecosystems ranging from rivers to the deep-sea. Studies combine field work, laboratory analyses, ecoinformatics (i.e., ecological information technology), environmental statistics, and modeling. Most importantly, the group integrates natural science findings with socioeconomic studies to create the basic science needed for sound policy and management.

Rick Kalke is a Research Associate at the Harte Research Institute.

Jeff Chanton

Jeff Chanton
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Florida State University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

My research focus is fairly broad but follows the focus of either methane and carbon dioxide production, emission and cycling, and/or stable isotope analysis. At this time I am working in six different areas:

  • Wetlands, looking at permafrost decomposition in the northern boreal zone;
  • Food webs, learning about trophic relationships in estuaries;
  • Reducing methane emissions to the atmosphere, designing landfill cover soils which promote the growth of methane-consuming bacteria;
  • Methane gas hydrates, which some estimate may be a large reservoir of fossil fuel to be mined;
  • Pine forests, which can be large sinks for excess CO2;
  • and Groundwater discharge, an overlooked process which is important to the nutrient budgets of coastal waters.

I am also involved in the new Biogeochemical Dynamics Program at FSU. The Biogeochemical Dynamics Program is an interdisciplinary research-oriented, graduate-only program within the FSU College of Arts and Sciences which focuses on environmental biogeochemistry.

Samantha Bosman

Samantha Bosman
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Florida State University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

Geochemistry

 

Isabel Romero

Isabel Romero
Designation: Research Scientist
Institution: University of South Florida
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impacts of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Biogeochemist

Research Interests

My research interests lie on the fields of biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology. The goals of my research is to use a combination of different techniques to better understand the functional relationship among biological groups and the environment under natural and disturbed conditions. At present, my research focus on elucidating biogeochemical indicators in sediments, water and fish of ecosystem change resulting from the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout.

David Hastings

David Hastings
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Eckerd College
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments

My primary research interest is paleoclimatology, or the history of past climate changes. The reconstruction of past ocean temperature is an essential component in understanding the controls of past and future climate change. I am able to determine sea surface temperatures over geologic time, using the incorporation of Mg and Sr into the shells of foraminifera and ostracodes. Currently, I am focusing on rapid climate changes in the Gulf of Mexico during the deglacial period from 20,000 to 10,000 years ago.

As a marine geochemist, I responded quickly to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with the help of many Eckerd College students. I am interested in how redox sensitive metals in sediments are responding following the large pulse of organic matter to the sea floor to estimate changes in oxygen in marine sediments.

I actively engage in policy conversations regarding climate change with the public and with elected officials. I have written several op eds regarding climate change science and solutions. Most recently, I met with Governor Rick Scott, regarding the science of climate change, and the imperative of taking action in Florida to mitigate the impacts. I was selected as 2014 “Science Champion” by Union of Concerned Scientists for “speaking (scientific) truth to power.”

In both lectures and the smaller classes I teach, I rely on case studies, small group work, and hands-on learning. I place a strong emphasis on active, collaborative learning and encourage critical thinking. Field work with students is central in my teaching, as reflected in recent articles in the Tampa Tribune and recent research on microplastics with students in the Tampa Bay Times.

Dr. Hastings received the Lloyd W. Chapin award for Excellence in Scholarship and the Arts in May of 2015.  Congratulations!

Maria Luisa Machain-Castillo

Maria Luisa Machain-Castillo
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests:

Laboratory Micropaleontology and Paleoceanography

  • history of climate change on marine sediments
  • to know how it has changed the climate at different scales of annual
  • decadal to millennial or older
  • and detailed information that permits more accurate predictive models

Gregg Brooks

Gregg Brooks
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Eckerd College
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments

Research Interests: The geologic development of continental margins and the study of sediments and sedimentary processes, associated anthropogenic impacts and event stratigraphy preserved in the coastal sedimentary record. (>40 peer-reviewed publications).

Research Funding (>$5,000,000 over the past 10 years) from NSF, USGS, and a variety of other federal, state and local governmental agencies as well as private foundations. Served as Editor on a Special Publication in Marine Geology, Neogene Geology of a linked coastal/inner shelf system: west-central Florida (2003). Served as Sedimentologist on ODP Leg 182, Great Australian Bight (1998). Current research projects include recent sedimentary development of TampaBay and CharlotteHarbor (both on Florida’s west coast), the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the BP oil spill. Supervises labs for analysis of sediment texture and composition, and sediment geochronology (over past 100 years) using short-lived radioisotopes (Pb-210, Cs-137, Be-7, Th-234). Actively supports 10-20 students/year on grant funded projects.

Kate Freeman

Kate Freeman
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

  • Organic Geochemistry
  • Isotopic Biogeochemistry
  • Paleoclimate
  • Astrobiology

Dr. Freeman was recently elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences for her excellence in scientific research.  See full announcement from Penn State here.

Elva Escobar-Briones

Elva Escobar-Briones
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests:

Laboratory of Biodiversity and Macroecology 

Ecosystem Studies of the Deep Sea are developed with the aim of contributing to the knowledge that is required for the sustainable use and management decisions for conservation. Deep sea fuana provide important ecosystem services in recycling elements in biogeochemical cycles, these organisms have evolutionary adaptations to extreme importance to the biotech industry, are trophic links for species of economic interest and contribute to global biodiversity with new species.

Projects:

  • "Regional Ecosystem Assessment asphalt volcano in the SW of the Campeche"
  •  factors that define the variability of biological diversity and benthic biomass in the deep Gulf of Mexico "
  • Impact of climate change in oxygen minimum zones of the Eastern Tropical Pacific and consequences in abundance, diversity and trophic structure "
  • "Flow and biological composition of the organic particles deposited in the benthic boundary layer in the southern part of the abyssal plain of the Gulf of Mexico" and
  • Source, Destination and elemental stoichiometry of particulate matter Alchichica, a tropical oligotrophic lake. "

Joel Kostka

Joel Kostka
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Microbial Ecology

The benefits of microorganisms (microbes) to the human condition on Earth are vast. We study microbial processes that impact Earth's biogeochemical cycles and provide ecosystem services to human beings. Microbes are the great decomposers in Earth ecosystems, breaking down dead and dying organic matter and recycling nutrients that are used by photosynthetic organisms. During the processing of organic matter, microbes release or consume greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4) that help to regulate Earth's climate. Microbes also carry out enzymatic processes such as nitrogen fixation or methanogenesis that are unique and not attainable by macrobial life. Microbes live in close association with plants or animals, creating a holobiome that benefits host health. The vast diversity of microbial functions also acts to clean up human wastes in services such as wastewater treatment or the breakdown of petroleum hydrocarbons discharged into the environment.

Check out the Joel Kostka Laboratory Website!

Paul Montagna

Paul Montagna
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Harte Research Institute
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Ecosystems and Modeling

The ecosystems group performs environmental research using a systems view of the coasts and oceans from the bottom-up. We focus mainly on two topics: environmental flows and effects of deep-sea oil and gas activities. Our method, the systems perspective, integrates biotic and abiotic processes to perform applied and fundamental research on benthic ecosystems ranging from rivers to the deep-sea. Studies combine field work, laboratory analyses, ecoinformatics (i.e., ecological information technology), environmental statistics, and modeling. Most importantly, the group integrates natural science findings with socioeconomic studies to create the basic science needed for sound policy and management.

Dr. Paul Montagna is an Endowed Chair at the Harte Research Institute.

Jagos Radovic

Jagos Radovic
Designation: Post-doc Fellow
Institution: University of Calgary
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

State-of-the-art methods for the characterization of complex organic mixtures

  • Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC)
  • Ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS)

Petrochemistry/Petroleomics

  • Characterization of petroleum and petroleum fractions

Environmental Chemistry

  • Oil and chemical (HNS) spills in marine environment
  • Environmental forensics – fingerprinting
  • Effect-directed analysis (EDA)

Geochemistry

  • Reconstruction of past and present environments from the geochemical records in marine and petroleum reservoir settings

Chemometrics

  • Multivariate methods

David Hollander

David Hollander
Designation: Task Lead, Center Chief Scientist
Institution: University of South Florida
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impacts of PAH on Ecosystems
Expertise: Sedimentary Geochemist

Research: Archeometry; Chemical Sedimentology; Isotopic Biogeochemistry and Organic Geochemistry; Origin of Organic-Rich Deposits; and Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions

My research program focuses on evaluating the influence that anthropogenic and natural climate and environmental change have on the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and other biolimiting elements in both modern and ancient lacustrine and marine settings.

This research couples state-of-the-art analytical techniques in stable isotope and organic geochemistry to provide a detailed characterization of organic matter. The goals of his research are to understand how biological, Chemical and physical processes in modern environments control the production, composition, alteration, decomposition and preservation of organic matter. The results of his studies in modern settings are applied to the analysis of ancient organic-rich sediments in order to reconstruct the environmental and climatic factors controlling the accumulation of organic matter throughout the geologic record.

Dr. Hollander is a Co-PI and Theme leader for the C-IMAGE consortium funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to study long-term impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

Chris Reddy

Chris Reddy
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

  • Source, transport, and fate of organic contaminants
  • Useful chemicals from the sea
  • Petroleum geochemistry
  • Explaining science and how science works

Alette Langenhoff

Alette Langenhoff
Designation: Team Member
Institution: Wageningen University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Impact of PAH on Ecosystems

Research Interests

  • organic pollutants
  • microbiology
  • aerobic treatment
  • anaerobic digestion
  • anaerobic microbiology
  • water microbiology
  • water pollution
  • groundwater pollution
  • persistent organic pollutants
  • soil pollution
  • diffuse pollution

Dr. Langenhoff is an assistant professor at Wageningen University in the Sub-department of Environmental Technology.

Justine Van Eenennaam

Justine Van Eenennaam
Designation: PhD Student
Institution: Wageningen University
Primary Task: Oil in the Sediments
Secondary Task: Ecotoxicology
Expertise: Toxicology

Research Interests

  • Environmental Engineering

Ms. Van Eenennaam is a PhD student at Wageningen University Agrotechnology and Food Sciences in the Sub department of Environmental Technology.

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
  • 1
  • 2