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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.

MOSSFA Workshop

Monday February 6, 2017

8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Hyatt Regency
601 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113
Room: Empire B

Session Description:

The MOSSFA workshop at the GoMOSES 2017 will focus on new and still pressing issues surrounding the MOSSFA phenomena including: 1) chemical and biological factors that control MOS formation, and its vertical transport from its location of origin at the surface and in the deep sea, 2) diagnostic parameters/observations that best and broadly characterize MOSSFA events in sediments in order to determine its spatial distribution, its benthic ecosystem impacts and its temporal evolution recovery rate / preservation in the sediments; including the nature and characterization of past MOSSFA events, and 3) current state of numerical modeling of MOSSFA events, what set of observations are needed to produce accurate simulations of MOSSFA spatial distributions, and defining what specific advances to models are needed, such as oil droplet aggregation, vertical transport rates, and microbial, biogeochemical, and sedimentary cycling modules.

Beyond advances in each of these specific focus areas, outcomes of the workshop will include determining how MOSSFA observation, experimentation and modeling can be: i) used to direct future experimental studies of MOS formation, ii) coupled with near- and far-field transport models to aid first responders in predicting the occurrence and spatial distribution MOSSFA events in waters and sediments, iii) integrated into regional-scale ecosystem modeling of biological impact and consequences and iv) used in establishing a terminal oil budget.

Workshop Organizing Committee:

David Hollander (Chair- MOSSFA Working Group and Workshop Committee) Adrian Burd, Jeff Chanton, Kendra Daly, Claire Paris, Antonietta Quigg, Kai Ziervogel (all members MOSSFA Workshop Organizing Committee)

Session Registration:

Registration is closed.

Session Agenda:

Time Activity Responsible Party
7:45 Registration and Poster Viewing All
8:25 Welcome & Logistics / Participant Instructions David Hollander
8:30 MOS Formation
1) "Highway to the Benthos: Formation and Sedimentation of Marine Oil Snow and Oil-Sediment Aggregations", Uta Passow (UCSB) V. Asper (USM), A. Burd (UGA), J. Chanton (FSU), W.-C. Chin (UCMerced), A. Diercks (USM), S. Doyle (TAMU), S. Joye (UGA), J. Montoya (GATech), A. Quigg (TAMUG), P. Santschi (TAMUG), J. Sylvan (TAMU), C. Xu (TAMUG), B. Yan, (LDEO Columbia), S. Zhang (TAMUG), and K. Ziervogel (UNH)
2) "Bacterial EPS in MOS formation: the role of oil-degraders", Tony Gutierrez, L. Duran Suja (Heriot-Watt University), A. Teske and M. Aitken (UNC).
3) "Phytoplankton EPS in MOS formation", Antonietta Quigg, M. Kamalanathan, L. Bretherton, J. Genzer, S. Setta, J. Hillhouse (TAMUG), Z. Finekl, A. Irwin (MTA), U. Passow (UCSB), C. Xu, P.Santschi (TAMUG).
4) "The DWH Marine Oil Snow Blizzard: Where did it come from?", Kendra Daly (USF), A. Diercks (USM), and A. Greer (USM).
Antonietta Quigg/Kendra Daly
9:30 MOSSFA in Sediments
1) "A holistic approach for tracking weathered oil sedimentation: from geochemical to microbiological fingerprints", Mandy Joye (UGA), J. Montoya (GATech), S. Harrison (UGA), R. Sibert (UGA), K. Hunter (UGA), V. Asper (USM), A. Diercks (USM), U. Passow (UCSB).
2) "Marie snow amplifies the persistence and impact of oil on the seafloor", Edwin Foekema, A.A.M. Langenhoff, J.S. van Eenennaam, S. Rahsepar and A.J. Murk (Wageningen University and Research (WUR), The Netherlands).
3) "Benthic footprint, ecological impacts and long-term recovery from a MOSSFA event", Patrick Schwing (USF) and P. Montagna (TAMU-Harte); D. Hollander (USF), B.J. O'Malley (USF), E.E. Fridrik (USF), G. R. Brooks (Eckerd), R. A. Larson (Eckerd/USF), D. W. Hastings (Eckerd), I. C. Romero (USF), J. Baguley (U. Nevada), J. Chanton (FSU), J. Kostka (GA Tech), E. Escobar-Briones (UNAM), M.-L. Machain-Castillo (UNAM), A.-C. Ruiz-Fernández (UNAM), J.-A. Sánchez-Cabeza (UNAM)
4) "Deja-vu all over again: A Comparison of the 1979-80 IXTOC and 2010 DWH MOSSFA events", David Hollander (USF) and J. Chanton (FSU); G. R. Brooks (EC) D. Hastings (EC), J. Kostka (GA Tech), R. Larson (EC/USF), W. Overholt (GA Tech), I. Romero (USF), P. Schwing (USF), E. Escobar-Briones (UNAM), E. Foekema (WUR), K. Freeman (PSU), A. Gracia (UNAM), S. Lincoln (PSU), M.-L. Machain-Castillo (UNAM), P. Montagna (TAMU-Harte), T.-A. Murk (WUR), T. Oldenburg (UC), J. Radovic (UC), C. Reddy (WHOI), A.-C. Ruiz-Fernández (UNAM), J.-A. Sánchez-Cabeza (UNAM), W. Tunnell (TAMU-Harte), S. Vonk (WUR).
Jeff Chanton /Kai Ziervogel/ David Hollander
10:30 Break and Poster Viewing All
11:00 MOSSFA Numerical Modeling
1) “Modeling MOSSFA: Methods and Parameters”, Adrian Burd (UGA), K. Daly (USF), A. Dissanayake (UGA), S. Francis (UCSB), U. Passow (UCSB)
2) "Lagrangian Modeling of Inertial and Buoyant Particles for Deep Sea Blowout" Claire Paris (UM), N. Perlin, A. Vaz
Adrian Burd/Claire Paris
12:00 Lunch and Poster Session All

Breakout Groups:
a) MOS formation
b) MOSSFA events in sediments
c) numerical modeling of MOSSFA events

2:30 Break and Poster Viewing  
3:00 Continue Breakout Groups  
4:00 Reporting from Three (3) Breakout Groups  
5:00 Future Directions MOSSFA Working Group
5:25 Closing Remarks  
5:30 Adjourn  

Previous MOSSFA Related Activities......






Town Hall Discussion


Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA): New

Perspectives for Oil Spill Response Strategies, Oil Budget Calculations, and

Impacts on Benthos


The MOSSFA Working Group: Uta Passow (UCSB), Jeff Chanton (FSU), Kendra Daly (USF), and David Hollander (USF)

Monday, January 27, 2014

6:30 – 8:30 pm

Cash Bar & Hors d’oeuvres

BattleHouse Renaissance, Moonlight Ballroom

High accumulation rates of sinking, oil-associated particles at the seafloor after the DwH accident were unexpected. This pathway was not considered in response strategies and is not included in the oil budget calculator for the DwH spill. MOSSFA (Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation) is a GoMRI inter-consortium working group, investigating the processes leading to the formation of rapidly sinking, oil- associated marine snow, its accumulation at the seafloor, and its fate and impact within pelagic and benthic ecosystems. At this Town Hall meeting, we will report on the summary findings that emerged from the inaugural MOSSFA meeting held October 2013.

Mitigation techniques for surfacing oil included the opening of the floodgates of the Mississippi River and diversionary channels to purge contaminants from the coast, the wide spread application of dispersants to reduce oil droplet size and increase oil solubility, and oil burning which resulted in the formation of pyrogenic PAHs and soot. Collectively, these tools may have resulted in many unintended consequences, including the intensification of MOSSFA processes, leading to the rapid formation, sedimentation and accumulation at the seafloor of flocculent material containing significant amounts of hydrocarbons of petrogenic and pyrogenic origins and labile biomass from diverse photo- and heterotrophic communities.  Cross-shelf and lateral particle transport appears to have intensified MOSSFA processes and led to an increase in the spatial “footprint” of sedimentary oil deposition. Budgets estimate that between 3-25% of the total liquid oil released during the DwH event was deposited in the sedimentary reservoir, requiring a significant reappraisal of the DwH oil budget calculation. A continued flux of oil to the sediments would result in long-term contamination of benthic habitats and of lower and upper trophic-level benthic-resident organisms. This proposed mechanism provides a pathway for the uptake and continued metabolism of toxic and carcinogenic petroleum hydrocarbons into economically and recreational fish species.

The Town Hall discussion panel will focus on (1) evaluating the role of response strategies to surfacing oil on the intensification of MOSSFA-based processes, (2) incorporation of oiled-sediments in the oil-budget calculation, and (3) the long-term contamination of benthic habitats and its impact on important benthic dependent fish species. Inclusion of these perspectives in association with future deep-sea petroleum blowouts may lead to a paradigm shift in how surfacing oil mitigation techniques are applied, how they influence the oil-budget calculations, and how biological impact and injury assessment are evaluated. 

For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 603.862.1545

 Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation

C-IMAGE along with two other GoMRI funded consortia, ECOGIG and Deep-C created a working group to answer some key questions about the formation and fate of flocculant material observed in the northern Gulf of Mexico during and after the Deepwater Horizon event.

Chair: Dr. Uta Passow (ECOGIG)

Co-chairs: Dr. Jeff Chanton (Deep-C), Dr. Kendra Daly (C-IMAGE), Dr. David Hollander (C-IMAGE/Deep-C)

The first Working Group Meeting was held in Tallahassee, FL October 22-23, 2013.

You can download the meeting agendaparticipant list and workshop report.

You can also visit for meeting details.

MOSSFA Related Publications