JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 418


The Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem

A tale of two Gulf spills: A research consortium of 17 institutions from 5 countries studying the impacts of oil spills on the Gulf of Mexico.

Task 3 Items

Task 3 Items (9)

Bekka Larson, a PhD student at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science, was award the Admiral James D. Watkins The James D. Watkins Award. This award is recognizes exceptional student presentations at the annual Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Sciences Conference (GoMOSES) presented by the Center of Ocean Leadership.

Bekka's presentation "High-Resolution Sedimentary Record of the DwH Event: Impacts and Recovery" compiles sediment cores collected over several years of C-IMAGE research expedition analyzing the radioisotope signatures 234Th and 210Pb to observe seafloor recovery following major oil spills.

Bekka represents the forth year which a C-IMAGE student has won the award.

  • 2014: Karen Malone
  • 2015: Lindsey Dornberger, Kristina Deak
  • 2017: Travis Washburn, Aprami Jaggi, Susan Snyder
  • 2018: Bekka Larson

More work from Larson

Student of the Month Blog | Brooks et al. (2015) PLoS One

Calgary, Alberta - Aprami Jaggi has been through all three funding periods of C-IMAGE and defended her PhD dissertation in March 2018 to complete her degree. Dr. Jaggi's research focuses on how oil components transfer to the water with different pressures, known as 'partitioning'.

Aprami's 2014 Student of the Month Article

Aprami's research has incorporated major findings from the University of Calgary research group.

Dissolved organic matter in marine environments: A study of the origin, lability and molecular composition

  • Marine dissolved organic matter (DOM) across the sampled regions comprises a homogenized mix of species with heteroatom distribution of NOx, N2Ox, N3Ox, and Ox. The multi-oxygenated species (O2-22) offer the highest contribution to the relative intensity of the DOM mass spectra. The surface water DOM shows the most variation in their relative intensity and abundance of multi-oxygenated species, reflecting their lability in contrast to the more homogenized deeper waters.
  • Pyrogenesis or the breakdown of terrigenous and marine organic matter on exposure to the heat yields an increase in more refractory compounds. The heating of plant biomass produces homogenized spectra that closely resemble bathypelagic marine water DOM composition.
  • In contrast to the oxygen rich water DOM, the sediment water extractable organics is enriched in nitrogen containing species (N1-6O1-17) with smaller carbon number and double bond equivalent values. The sedimentary organics tend to better preserve the input signatures of organics feeding into them, relative to the overlying waters.
  • The extent of organics (BTEX - Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene) partitioning from the oil into the water phase increases with a decrease in pressure and increase in temperature, with pressure being the chief driver of the change.
  • The addition of dispersant to the water phase, increases the extent of organics (BTEX) partitioning into the water phase. This effect is higher at lower pressure conditions.
  • The in situ burning of oil causes nearly double the concentration of highly condensed and oxidized aromatics to partition into the water phase, relative to the same amount of oil in contact with water.

Dr. Jaggi's next steps will include working towards translating our learnings and applying them to the Arctic to ensure better preparedness and understanding of the oil release in a different environment. Beyond that I also intend to apply some of the understanding of dissolved organic matter towards characterizing the produced waters from Oil sands operations in Alberta. I will be taking on these tasks by working with PRG group under Dr. Steve Larter and Dr. Thomas Oldenburg, in University of Calgary.

Congratulations Aprami

The GoMRI homepage features a publication from Wageningen University analyzing the effect of dispersants on oil spills.

The NET effect of dispersants—a critical review of testing and modelling of surface oil dispersion was published in Marine Pollution Bulletin in 2015 and reviews the impact of dispersants by analyzing other studied spills. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative features the publication on their website.

GoMRI Article: Study Improves Knowledge about Dispersants’ Net Effect on Oil Fate

Full Publication: Marieke Zeinstra-Helfrich, Wierd Koops, Albertinka J. Murk, The NET effect of dispersants — a critical review of testing and modelling of surface oil dispersion, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 100, Issue 1, 15 November 2015, Pages 102-111, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.09.022.


The last field sampling expedition of C-IMAGE is now completed.  C-IMAGE PI Steven Murawski and Chief Science Officer David Hollander wrapped up their 3rd and final Mud and Blood Cruise on August 29, 2014.  They were joined on the RV Weatherbird by other C-IMAGE scientists from USF, Eckerd College, Pennsylvania State University, The University of West Florida and Mote Marine Laboratory. Deep-C consortium members from Florida State University and Georgia Tech were also along to collect water and sediment samples from The Gulf of Mexico.  In all, fish and sediment samples from over 30 sites were collected and prepared for analysis.

C-IMAGE welcomed Screenscope, Inc. aboard to film the science crew during a long-lining set. Hal and Marilyn Weiner along with other Screensope, Inc. staff enjoyed perfect weather on the Gulf while they filmed and interviewed our scientists.  They got quite the show; a deck full of red snapper and a few hammerhead sharks! Hopefully these critters won't make it to the editing floor.  C-IMAGE would like to thank the Screenscope team for their time and interest - it's not easy to film in 120 degree heat on a rocky boat. We look forward to seeing the finished product!

Dr. Jing Chen, student Yovela Wang, and Dr David Hastings at Xiamen University. 

David Hastings, C-IMAGE co-PI from Eckerd College, recently traveled to Hong Kong and to Xiamen University in China where he gave two seminars focusing on the research the C-IMAGE sediment group has done.  He was the keynote speaker at the Lingfeng Forum on Coastal Dynamics and Paleoclimate, June 19, 2014 at Xiamen University in Xiamen, Fujan Province. 

In addition, he also presented their results at the Biology Departmental Seminar at Hong Kong Baptist University.

There are considerable oil resources off the coast of China with active oil extraction, natural seeps, and the potential of oil spills. There was heavy interest in how the Gulf of Mexico was impacted following the Deepwater Horizon blowout event in 2010.
Great food! This delectable dish : frogs legs with hot peppers. 
With Eckerd College colleague, Dr. Jing Chen, a political scientist, Dr. Hastings will bring a group of six Eckerd College undergraduates to Xiamen University in summer 2015 to engage in an interdisciplinary study of environmental science and policy in China.

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

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 agenda, participant list and workshop report. You can also visit http://deep-c.org/mossfa for meeting details.

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.

C-IMAGE PI's Steven Murawski and David Hollander on board the Weatherbird II in August of 2012 talking to David Levin about looking for impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the mud and the fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

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!