Navigation Links
UT researcher investigates Deepwater Horizon oil spill impact on coast
Date:9/12/2011

Soon after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico, Annette Engel, associate professor in earth and planetary sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, grabbed all the lab materials she could spare and headed down to the Louisiana coast.

Engel and dozens of scientists from across the country pooled their resources to conduct research they knew would be needed once the oil began spilling into the Gulf to determine what the coastal ecosystems were like before the inevitable spill. It took almost three months for the well to be capped.

Now, Engel and her fellow researchers, led by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), will be able to finish what they started with a three-year $12 million grant to study the effects of the spill on coastal ecosystems. The award is from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI), an independent research program and board established by British Petroleum, the White House and the governors of the five Gulf Coastal states.

Traveling along the coast by boat and by foottaking samples of water, sediment, grasses, oysters, fish and insectsthe team of researchers are evaluating the changes in the quality and quantity of oil, how the oil altered aquatic sediment and wetland soil stability, and the impacts that environmental stressors like oil have had on the coastal ecosystems and commercial fisheries.

"Our examination starts at the microbial level," said Engel. "Microbes can efficiently break down different compounds in oil by consuming oxygen. But removal of oxygen from already low-oxygen environments like wetland soil can create stress for grass roots, for example. If the marsh grass dies, insects disappear, and birds do not come around. Grass die-off can also lead to lower soil strength and marsh shoreline erosion. So, you have these cascading stress effects, all because oil was introduced into the ecosystem."

Engel's results of the effects of the spill on changing the diversity and distribution of microbial communities will be integrated into large-scale ecosystem models to illuminate what will be the long-term consequences of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the spill in the Gulf. They also will be used to enable appropriate responses should there be future releases, not only in the Gulf of Mexico, but in other ocean environments where oil and gas exploration occurs. The project can assist local, state, and federal agencies in their work to remediate the consequences of the oil spill in coastal and marine environments.

GRI has committed $500 million over a 10-year period to fund research into the effects of the accident. Engel and the LUMCON team are one of eight consortia that will investigate the effects of petroleum in the environment, the impacts of the spill and the development of new tools and technology for responding to future spills and improving mitigation and restoration.


'/>"/>

Contact: Whitney Holmes
wholmes7@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UTHealth, BCM researchers find common gene variant associated with aortic dissection
2. Researchers find high levels of toxic PCBs in Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal
3. Louisville researcher awarded $12.8 million NIH grant renewal for adult stem cell project
4. UH researchers work to develop screening method for superbug
5. Researchers find hormone that predicts premature death in kidney patients
6. Chinese researchers identify insect host species of a famous Tibetan medicinal fungus
7. Researchers publish study on neuronal RNA targeting
8. Researchers identify new drug target that stimulates
9. McMaster researchers find missing genes may separate coach potato from active cousin
10. New mutations in leukemia: Researchers found mechanism that can help design future therapies
11. Yale researchers solve mystery of disappearing bird digit
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) ... million US Dollar project, for the , Supply ... Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 Perimeter Surveillance & Detection ... Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  The ... offers comprehensive analysis of the global Border Security ... revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. Now: ... leader in software and hardware technologies for advanced video ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... IRVINE, Calif. , May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care ... LMD3251MT  3D medical LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to ... ... ... Sony 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the ... institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the Class ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a ... $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank ... automation and to advance its drug development efforts, as ... facility. "SVB has been an incredible strategic ... services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... OTTAWA, ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... former DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA ... joining the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, ... 1 clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, ... and multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess ... of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... either as a single dose (ranging from 45 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: