Written by Carrie Pinkard, Science Journalism Intern for USFCMS
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Art and science merged at a powerful event held at USFSP’s Nelson Poynter Memorial Library on April 18th, 2019.
Local artists and scientists gathered to commemorate the historic Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that occurred on April 20th, 2010.
Nine years ago, 11 people died from the explosion of the oil rig, impacting the ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico in ways scientists are still trying to understand.
“We have to remember that this forever broke 11 families,” said Dr. Steve Murawski, Professor at the USF College of Marine Science and Director of the multi-institutional research program C-IMAGE, which was developed in response to the spill.
Four scientists spoke about the impact of the 2010 oil spill, how species such as cephalopods, fish and crustaceans were affected, and how we can prevent a repeat occurrence. The event affected the entire water column, down to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf accounts for 20 percent of oil produced in the United States. The deepest well descends two miles, and some produce three and a half million barrels of oil a month, Murawski said.
Murawski showed projections of what would happen if an oil spill occurred in different parts of the Gulf of Mexico, such as off the coast of Cuba.
“The oil spill would know no boundaries,” if it happened there, he said.
C-IMAGE commissioned four local artists to produce works that would reflect their impression of the historic event. Their pieces are now a featured art exhibition called “After the Oil Spill: Visions of Local Artists” that can be viewed at the Poynter library throughout this summer.
The artists include:
The scientists who spoke at the panel include:
Dr. Steve Murawski – USF College of Marine Science
Dr. Bekka Larson – USF College of Marine Science & Eckerd College
Dr. Heather Judkins – USF St. Petersburg
Dr. Isabel Romero – USF College of Marine Science