The circulation in the Gulf of Mexico is strongly influenced by river inputs, currents, and eddies of various sizes. It is an excellent model system for studying links between physical and biogeochemical processes. The researchers working within this theme use state-of-the-art numerical models to investigate transport and mixing processes in the Gulf, and to understand the interaction of physical, chemical, and biological factors in supplying nutrients, oxygen, and carbon at various depths in the water column. Site specific measurements and satellite observations allow us to both validate our models and to focus our research questions.
This theme address components of the following ECOGIG research areas:
- Understanding the role of the offshore Mississippi River plume in structuring the microbial communities that control hydrocarbon degradation.
- Evaluating the vulnerability of gas hydrates to pressure and temperature disturbances through site specific observations and modeling.
Our researchers are also working towards answering questions such as:
1) What are the patterns that biological and chemical tracers may display at various depths and at the ocean surface?
2) Is the circulation of the Gulf of Mexico predictable and, if so, on what scales?
3) What are the mixing and transport characteristics around the natural seeps that ECOGIG is investigating?