"The Gulf is in serious trouble. As a marine ecosystem, there were many stressors prior to the Deepwater Horizon discharge and there has been little relief in the post-discharge era. For example, the nutrient loading from Mississippi River has continued. Apalachicola Bay, previously a major producer of oysters, has been devastated by diversion of freshwater upstream. Populations of fish, turtles, and marine mammals were seriously depleted. The discharged added a sudden, acute stress to an already unstable system. More research is needed to assess recovery, but much of the proposed work is t
"In today’s world, it is not enough to be a scientist doing good science. Scientists must also be (or become) effective communicators of the science they do. The public needs to understand what we do, why we are doing it, and what we are learning. There is inherent value in the work we do and it is relevant to the public at large, not just to scientists. An educated and engaged public is the only way to change the status quo.
Five years ago today, on April 20th 2010, a chain of events that ultimately resulted in the most significant offshore oil release in U.S. history began. The Deepwater Horizon, a dynamically positioned offshore mobile drilling unit, was drilling a production well in the Macondo Prospect, located in Mississippi Canyon lease block 252, about 40 miles offshore if the southeast coast of Louisiana. The night of April 20th 2010, rig operators experienced a loss of well control, resulting in a well blowout.
A nine-member research team, led by ECOGIG's Dr. Jeff Chanton, published a paper in the latest edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology locating - for the first time - 6 to 10 million gallons of DWH oil that are buried in the sediment on the Gulf of Mexico floor, about 60 miles south east of the Mississippi Delta. The study used carbon 14, a radioactive isotope, to determine the locatio (oil does not have carbon 14 so it shows up readily when c14 is used). Researchers then used GIS to create a map of the oiled sediment distribution on the sea floor.
Interested in joiining the ECOGIG-2 Team? A number of PHD. positions are available across an interdisciplinary spectrum. ECOGIG-2 students have the opportunity to work at sea on research vessels as well as carry out laboratory experiments. The project is highly collaborative, assuring interaction and cooperation with other ECOGIG-2 PIs, students and post docs, both in the US and at European institutions. IN addition, all students can participate in our vigorous Education and Public Outreach program.
Graduate student, Microbial ecology, Dr. Andreas Teske lab, Marine Sciences Dept., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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The ECOGIG Mission
ECOGIG's mission is to understand the environmental signatures and impacts of natural seepage versus that of abrupt, large hydrocarbon inputs on coupled benthic-pelagic processes in deepwater ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, and to chart the long-term effects and mechanisms of ecosystem recovery from the 2010 Macondo well blowout.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) investigates the impacts of the oil, dispersed oil, and dispersant on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and affected coastal States in a broad context of improving fundamental understanding of the dynamics of such events and their environmental stresses and public health implications. The GoMRI also develops improved spill mitigation, oil and gas detection, characterization and remediation technologies.
The ultimate goal of the GoMRI is to improve society’s ability to understand, respond to and mitigate the impacts of petroleum pollution and related stressors of the marine and coastal ecosystems, with an emphasis on conditions found in the Gulf of Mexico. Knowledge accrued will be applied to restoration and to improving the long-term environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico.