Discoveries: ECOGIG Research News

Push cores taken by the submersible ALVIN on their way back up to the Gulf of Mexico's surface. (c) ECOGIG

Study develops method to quantify DOSS in Gulf of Mexico sediments
July 19, 2017
ECOGIG researchers develop a way to detect a component of the dispersant Corexit.
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Study describes response from distinct bacterial groups to marine oil snow
July 05, 2017
ECOGIG researchers find a unique succession of microbes in Gulf sediments.
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Researchers study microbial processes directly at the seafloor
April 26, 2017
A new seafloor experimental system is revolutionizing the way our researchers learn about microbial oil degradation in the deep sea.
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Study characterizes natural deep sea seeps
April 05, 2017
ECOGIG scientists used two deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicles to survey the Gulf.
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Assessing post-spill coral recovery
March 28, 2017
ECOGIG graduate student Fanny Girard uses high-definition imagery to assess post-spill coral recovery
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Study suggests brittle stars limited Deepwater Horizon impacts on deep sea corals
February 07, 2017
Penn State researchers observed that corals associated with brittle stars were healthier than corals that were not.
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Study summarizes knowledge on marine oil snow
January 19, 2017
Scientists conducting oil spill research participated in the 2013 Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA) workshop.
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Distinct microbial community succession found in sediments
December 16, 2016
The authors of this recent ECOGIG paper show how sediment microbes responded to the large amounts of hydrocarbons from the Deepwater Horizon accident.
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Deepwater Horizon hydrocarbons entered the Gulf of Mexico food web
December 14, 2016
A recent ECOGIG paper provides direct evidence through stable isotope analysis that oil and gas from the spill entered the marine food web.
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New publication details advances in oil detection methods
November 15, 2016
The authors of a recent ECOGIG publication detail the challenges and advancements of oil detection methods since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf.
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GoMRI scientists mobilize to document impacts of methane blowout
November 10, 2016
GoMRI research consortia reacted quickly to study impacts of Hercules 265 methane leak and discovered evidence of immediate response by microbial community.
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New ECOGIG publication summarizes spill impacts on Gulf's deepwater ecosystems
October 25, 2016
A recent ECOGIG publication documents the ecological impacts (to date) of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident on the deep ocean ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico.
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What happened to all of the oil?
October 06, 2016
A recently published paper by ECOGIG researchers attempts to answer the question "What happened to all of the oil?" after the Deepwater Horizon accident of 2010.
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Massive amount of Deepwater Horizon oil transported to the seafloor as marine oil snow
October 04, 2016
A recent ECOGIG research paper published in the GoMRI special issue of Oceanography details the formation of significant quantities of marine oil snow (MOS) after the Deepwater Horizon accident and the implications of their findings for the sensitive Gulf of Mexico ecosystems and future oil spill cleanup efforts.
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Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Oceanography special issue now available!
September 01, 2016
This special issue provides a broad overview of the scientific work that has been done under the GoMRI program by GoMRI funded consortia. The issue contains 19 articles, 5 about ECOGIG related scientific discoveries and 1 about the outreach efforts surrounding the Deepwater Horizon accident.
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Anaerobic bacteria found to be thriving in Gulf of Mexico surface oil slicks
July 29, 2016
The Deepwater Horizon accident and subsequent oil spill led to rapid microbial community shifts in the Gulf of Mexico, including the formation of unprecedented quantities of marine oil snow. A recent ECOGIG study indicates that sea surface oil slicks at the site of the accident contained anaerobic (oxygen-sensitive) microbes, including species that are more commonly found in marine sediments.
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The Gulf of Mexico ecosystem – before, during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout
July 01, 2016
ECOGIG recently released a special issue of the journal Deep Sea Research II- this issue includes thirty seven papers that describe various aspects of the Gulf of Mexico's ecology and physics before, during and after the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010.
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Benthic animals significantly impact the nitrogen isotope balance of the world's oceans
July 01, 2016
A model developed by ECOGIG researchers at the University of Georgia has found that the activities of benthic organisms (animals that live in marine sediment), such as pumping water in and out of their burrows, has a significant impact on the isotopic signature of the nitrogen gas taken up or produced by marine sediments.
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Coldwater black coral community connectivity in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
May 24, 2016
A recently published ECOGIG paper investigated the potential connectivity of deepwater black coral communities in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the impact of this connectivity (or lack thereof) on helping deepwater coral communities recover after a large stress event.
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'Dirty Blizzard' sent 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill pollution to seafloor
May 23, 2016
ECOGIG researchers have recently published their findings that contaminants from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill lingered in the subsurface water for months after oil on the surface had been swept up or dispersed.
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ECOGIG research describes the transport of pollutants in the deep layer of the Gulf of Mexico
May 19, 2016
The most recent paper from ECOGIG researchers out of Georgia Tech provides new insights on the processes that drive transport and mixing of pollutants (such as oil) in the deep water layer (below 1000m) of the Gulf of Mexico.
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State of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem six years after the Deepwater Horizon accident
May 12, 2016
The Gulf of Mexico ecosystem is a hotspot for biological diversity and supports a number of industries, from tourism to fishery production to oil and gas exploration, that serve as the economic backbone of Gulf coast states. The latest research from ECOGIG aims to give an overview of the distribution, fate and impacts of the Deepwater Horizon accident on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.
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Deepwater coral symbionts limited the impact of the Deepwater Horizon accident on their hosts.
May 10, 2016
Deepwater corals form complex biological habitats in the deep-sea and are generally associated with a diverse number of organisms. However, little is known about the effect of these symbionts on the corals resilience to natural or anthropogenic impacts, such as an oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon accident. ECOGIG researchers investigated the benefits octocoral symbionts (brittle stars) provided to their coral hosts in the aftermath of the accident.
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Genetic potential of oil-eating bacteria from the Deepwater Horizon accident decoded
May 09, 2016
Microbiologists have cracked the genetic code of how bacteria broke down oil to help clean up the Deepwater Horizon accident, revealing that some bacteria have far greater potential for consuming oil than was previously known.
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ECOGIG researchers characterize seasonal evolution of circulation patterns in the surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico
May 01, 2016
Recently published work by ECOGIG researchers characterizes, for the first time, the seasonal development of the submesoscale (scales of 0.1-10 km) circulation dynamics near the ocean surface in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and provides new insights on the transport and convergence in the late spring and early summer of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010.
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Highly variable nutrient concentrations measured in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
April 26, 2016
In a recent paper published in Deep Sea Research II, ECOGIG researchers from Georgia Tech and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found that nutrient concentrations in the Northern Gulf of Mexico are highly variable and cannot be described with a linear model based on the Mississippi River's discharge alone.
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New research describes microbial activities in Mississippi River Delta in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac
March 03, 2016
New research from ECOGIG scientists suggests that increased river discharge from the Mississippi River, in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, triggered blooms of phytoplankton in the Mississippi River Delta.
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Deepwater Horizon oil transported to sediment through the formation of oil-associated marine snow
February 17, 2016
New research from ECOGIG researchers Dr. Uta Passow and Dr. Jeff Chanton suggests that a significant fraction of oil from the Deepwater Horizon accident was transported to the sediment through marine oil snow formation in Gulf of Mexico surface waters.
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ECOGIG study describes how Hurricane Isaac stirred up a marine snow storm
January 28, 2016
ECOGIG scientists representing eight institutions conducted in-situ observations and laboratory experiments to determine if Hurricane Isaac redistributed sedimented oil near the Deepwater Horizon site.
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Gulf of Mexico study finds microbes thriving above natural oil seeps
January 25, 2016
Recent findings from ECOGIG researchers Dr. Nigel D'Souza, Dr. Ajit Subramaniam, Dr. Andy Juhl, Dr. Ian MacDonald and Dr. Joe Montoya provide new insight into how microbes and oil interact in the Gulf.
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New ECOGIG research maps naturally occurring oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico
January 05, 2016
New research from Dr. Ian MacDonald (Florida State University), published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, quantifies the magnitude and distribution of surface oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico from natural seeps and from the Deepwater Horizon discharge, creating a map of all the active natural oil seeps in the Gulf.
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Study identifies molecular fingerprints for tracking oil and dispersant fate
December 23, 2015
An international science team, including several ECOGIG researchers, examined the effects of dispersant on the activity and composition of oil-degrading marine microorganisms.
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New ECOGIG research shows oil dispersants can suppress natural oil-degrading microorganisms
November 09, 2015
New results from ECOGIG’s Dr. Samantha Joye recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that the use of chemical dispersants meant to stimulate microbial crude oil degradation can, in some cases, inhibit the microorganisms that naturally degrade hydrocarbons.
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New article in Science calls for more natural baseline data collection in world's oceans
August 07, 2015
ECOGIG's Dr. Samantha Joye (UGA) recently published a perspective piece in the journal Science, calling for more natural baseline data in the world's oceans, to improve future oil spill response efforts.
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Latest ECOGIG research finds diverse, rare microbial communities responded to the Deepwater Horizon
August 03, 2015
Dr. Sara Kleindienst, a former post-doc with ECOGIG-1, just published new research in the ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology.  The ISME Journal bridges the gap between microbial ecology and other science areas, and is published by the Nature group.
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Dr. Jeff Chanton leads team of ECOGIG & DEEP- C colleagues in locating 6-10 Million Gallons of Deepwater Horizon oil buried in the sediment on GOM floor
February 02, 2015
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 sea floor.
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Dr. Charles Fisher and team show extended footprint of oil spill impact on corals
December 11, 2014
ECOGIG scientists widened their study scope of deep sea coral communities after finding oil-impacted coral near the Deepwater Horizon site.
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Dr. Uta Passow's research on marine snow and the fate of some of the Deepwater Horizon plume published in PNAS
November 03, 2014
Of the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded into fire and then sank in 2010, about 75% was neither recovered nor burned. New studies propose mechanisms for how some of that oil may have wound up on the seafloor. The work suggests the oil is more broadly distributed on the seafloor than previously realized.
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Impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coral communities is deeper and broader than predicted
August 07, 2014
A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
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