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Theme 2. Chemical Evolution and biological degradation of the petroleum/dispersant systems and subsequent interactions with coastal, open-ocean, and deep water ecosystems.

The goals of the theme 2 research are to:

  1. improve our understanding of the physical, chemical, biological and geological processes that govern the distribution, composition, degradation and fate of oil and gas releases as a result of a deep-sea blowout and
  2. to improve numerical modeling of near-field plume modeling of petroleum distribution and composition and far-field oil fate and transport modeling.

We will advance numerical modeling of near-field oil/gas plume dynamics and far-field oil fate and transport through the integration of high-pressure experimental research of the oil/gas/seawater/dispersant/microbe mixture, ambient-pressure laboratory studies of surface oil dispersion, biodegradation and ecotoxicology, and regional field studies of sedimentary oil deposition and biodegradation, all leading to development of new and refined plume and oil fate model algorithms. Validated models are significant because they can quickly predict the near-field behavior of a subsea blowout, yielding rapid, accurate, and timely forecasts needed for response and mitigation.

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