BioScience features ECOGIG research on oil spill impacts

BioScience features ECOGIG research on oil spill impacts
A seaside sparrow shown in its natural Gulf of Mexico marsh habitat. Photo courtesy of Phil Stouffer.

September 03, 2014

The September 2014 issue of BioScience features seven peer-reviewed articles authored by GoMRI-funded scientists and engineers discussing key phenomena occurring at the time of the Macondo blowout.

The special section, Understanding the Biological Effects of the Macondo Blowout, explores the biology of Gulf of Mexico systems and potential impacts on these systems from the Deepwater Horizonoil spill.

Dr. Rita Colwell, GoMRI Research Board Chair, introduced this special section as representing a first step toward synthesizing findings from on-going research that serves as a starting point for testing, monitoring, and evaluating the Gulf’s response to the oil spill: An important early outcome of the GoMRI program is the formation of a collaborative and connected research community focused on developing a full understanding of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Research consortia and investigator teams funded by GoMRI now compose a cadre of collaborating scientists and engineers. The research produced by these innovative interdisciplinary teams is essential for understanding the environmental complexities of the Gulf.

These articles have undergone the standard, rigorous peer-review processes used by BioScience. BP and the GoMRI played no role in selecting, editing, or reviewing these articles. GoMRI-funded researchers are required to register their data used in peer-reviewed journals in an independent, publically accessible database (

The BioScience special section includes these articles:

ECOGIG: Microbial Dynamics Following the Macondo Oil Well Blowout across Gulf of Mexico Environments (Samantha B. Joye, Andreas P. Teske, and Joel E. Kostka);

Integrating Organismal and Population Responses of Estuarine Fishes in Macondo Spill Research (F. Joel Fodrie, Kenneth W. Able, Fernando Galvez, Kenneth L. Heck Jr., Olaf P. Jensen, Paola C. López-Duarte, Charles W. Martin, R. Eugene Turner, and Andrew Whitehead);

Effects of Oil Spills on Terrestrial Arthropods in Coastal Wetlands (Steven C. Pennings, Brittany D. McCall, and Linda Hooper-Bui);

ECOGIG: Coral Communities as Indicators of Ecosystem-Level Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Spill (Charles R. Fisher, Amanda W. J. Demopoulos, Erik E. Cordes, Iliana B. Baums, Helen K. White, and Jill R. Bourque);

Seaweeds and Decapod Crustaceans on Gulf Deep Banks after the Macondo Oil Spill (Darryl L. Felder, Brent Patrick Thoma, William E. Schmidt, Thomas Sauvage, Sherry L. Self-Krayesky, Andrei Chistoserdov, Heather D. Bracken-Grissom, and Suzanne Fredericq);

Effects of Oil on Terrestrial Vertebrates: Predicting Impacts of the Macondo Blowout (Christine M. Bergeon Burns, Jill A. Olin, Stefan Woltmann, Philip C Stouffer, and Sabrina S. Taylor); and

How Were Phytoplankton Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill? (Koray Ozhan, Michael L. Parsons, and Sibel Bargu).


This original article can be found here.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies. An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research. All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available. The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP. For more information, visit

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