Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative

CARTHE Drifters: Where does oil go when it is spilled?

One-meter-tall plastic drifters are released into the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. Over 300 of these drifters were released and their location information was sent to researchers every five minutes through GPS satellite. Credit:...

Bob the Drifter

This video, produced by Waterlust, shows how the Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) uses drifters to collect important data about the ocean. These data help researchers learn...
Small foram shells in seafloor sediment.

Little Critters that tell a BIG Story: Benthic Foraminifera and the Gulf Oil Spill

You are not alone if you don’t know what forams (short for foraminifera) are, so let’s start with the basics. Simply put, forams are single-celled organisms related to the familiar amoeba that produce a...

How Oil Feeds the Deep Sea

Positioned in front of a natural oil seep, this video camera is capturing images of the black oil bubbling up from beneath the sea floor. A light mounted to the frame helps see what...

Beyond the Sea: How Oil Spills in the Ocean Affect Birds On Land

With their brown and yellow markings, seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus ) blend in well with marshgrass. Credit: Philip Stouffer, Louisiana State University In marshlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it's...

Oil Invades Coral Communities of the Deep

On the deep seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico, ecosystems made up of fish, corals, sea stars, anemones and other invertebrates flourish. Since the sun’s rays don’t reach the deep sea, coral communities rely...

Building a Better Dispersant

A C-130 Hercules from the Air Force Reserve Command deploys dispersant into the Gulf of Mexico May 5, 2010, as part of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill response effort. Credit: U.S. Air Force, Tech...
A raindrop falls into a surface oil slick treated with chemical dispersant.

After the Oil Spill: Research Projects in the Gulf of Mexico with GoMRI

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was formed as a 10-year independent research program with money provided by BP to fund an independent research program looking at the impact of oil spills on...
Alexis Temkin

Five Questions With Alexis Temkin, Searching For Links Between Deepwater Horizon & Human Health

Credit: Courtesy Alexis Temkin We all know to avoid touching or eating oil (the fossil fuel variety that is). But after a coastal oil spill, avoiding oil can be difficult if you live near...

Five Questions with Uta Passow, How An Oil Spill Affects the Movement of Carbon In the Ocean

There are millions of tiny drifting plants in the sunlit ocean, called phytoplankton. They produce oxygen that humans end up breathing in and provide food for animals in the plankton (the zooplankton). After death,...
Nancy Rabalais

Five Questions with Nancy Rabalais, Tracking Dead Zones In the Gulf

The Gulf of Mexico is known for one of the world's largest “dead zones"—areas of low- or no-oxygen water along the seafloor that suffocate most animal life. The average size of the Gulf's dead...

Let's Get Our Hands Dirty This Women's History Month

A view of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as seen from a NOAA research aircraft, June 2010. Credit: David Valentine, University of California Santa Barbara In the ocean world, there are many women to...

How Jellyfish Break Down Oil After a Spill

Jellyfish produce mucus, especially when stressed, which can interact with oil and break it down. This moon jellyfish is sloughing off mucus that has mixed with droplets of oil. Credit: Brad Gemmell By Emily...