Student Vignettes

Susan Snyder

About my research

My research with Dr. Steve Murawski aims to understand exposure and accumulation of toxic oil-related compounds in fish following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout. We focus on the bottom-dwelling and commercially important species, such as red snapper and golden tilefish. We quantify the toxic components of oil, known as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), in different fish samples including bile (to tell us about short-term exposure), and muscle and liver (to tell us about long-term accumulation). We relate these chemical body burdens to sublethal effects in the fish, including liver cancer, immunosuppression and reduced growth. Our goal is to understand the extent of exposure to oil following the Deepwater Horizon blowout, and any health effects caused by exposure. We have extended our studies to the southern Gulf of Mexico where a similar oil-well blowout occurred offshore of Mexico in 1979. Our goal is to generate a gulf-wide baseline for contaminants and fish disease.


My research is part of the Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems (C-IMAGE) group, centered here at the College of Marine Science lead by PI Dr. Steve Murawski. I am very fortunate to be a part of C-IMAGE research because it links my research with hundreds of other scientists locally and globally studying the Deepwater Horizon blowout and the Gulf of Mexico. Many of these scientists are here at the College of Marine Science, including faculty, scientific researchers and graduate students spanning fields of Biology, Chemistry, Geology and Physics, allowing our research to be very interdisciplinary. I chose to come to the College of Marine Science because I was excited about the research going on through C-IMAGE, specifically with Dr. Steve Murawski.

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