Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative

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A bright red sea anemone clings to rocks underwater.

DIVE DEEPER

Blue on the Big Screen

Islanders made homeless by sea-level rise, a dreaming dolphin, and deep underwater explorations are all subjects featured in...
Oil Drilling Platform in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf Oil Spill

The Gulf oil spill is recognized as the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of...

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...

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,...

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...

Three Ways You Can Use Genomics to Study Oil Spill Impacts

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative researchers collect samples from a Pensacola Beach with oil layers in the sand. They use genomics to track how the communities of microbes change as they digest different components...

Meet the Tiny Bacteria That Give Anglerfishes Their Spooky Glow

Descend two hundred meters (about 656 feet) below the surface and the ocean is reduced to total darkness. Creatures that live beyond the Twilight Zone spend their lives almost entirely in a near-limitless black...
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From Larvae to Adults – Finding Impacts of an Oil Spill on Mahi Mahi

A school of mahi mahi (or dolphinfish). Credit: © Tony Ludovico By Emily Frost For a month during the summer of 2016, Lela Schlenker spent several hours in the dead of night watching mahi...
A brittle star clings to the branches of a deep sea coral

A Brittle Star May Be a Coral’s Best Friend

A brittle star wraps its arms around the branches of a deep sea octocoral. The coral's polyps are all open and extended, a sign that the coral is unbothered by the sea star. Credit:...
Black Axil Chromis on a Coral Reef

Fish Get Risky Around Oil

On coral reefs fish are important links in the food chain that sustains higher-order predators (including humans) and keeps everything in balance. Credit: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble, Flickr By Kalila Morsink Whether you...
A beaked whale at the ocean's surface

Seeing with Sound: Acoustic monitoring of beaked whales can help determine oil spill impacts

A Gervais' beaked whale comes up to the surface to take a quick breath. Credit: NOAA By L.K. Ward and Danielle Hall When compared to dolphins and large baleen whales, beaked whales lose a...

The Oil Spill, Two Years Later

Mark Dodd, a wildlife biologist from Georgia's Department of Natural Resources, surveying oiled sargassum seaweed in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Credit: Georgia Department of Natural Resources...