Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New results of Deepwater Horizon research to protect marine life against future oil spills

28.06.2018

The University of South Florida continues to play an integral role in discovering the extent of damage caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Researchers just published results of a seven-year study, recording the most comprehensive data available of marine life throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico.

This is significant, as lack of baseline data has limited researchers' abilities to fully understand the oil spill's impact. The new data will serve as a tremendous asset for future research. The study published in the journal Marine and Coastal Fisheries outlines the marine makeup of the Gulf from the U.S. to Mexico and Cuba.


This map portrays sampling locations and catch rates (number of fish caught per 1000 hooks fished per hour).

Credit: University of South Florida

"Neither the fish nor oil spills know national boundaries," said principal investigator Steve Murawski, PhD, professor at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. "Providing seamless data for the Gulf as a whole is imperative if we are to prepare adequately for future oil spills."

Throughout the course of 12 separate research expeditions, marine biologists systematically caught 15,000 fish of 166 species from 343 locations. They divided the Gulf into six zones, to help best differentiate population changes. The most notable decline since the disaster is of the red snapper and southern hake in the northern Gulf, the location of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Overall, fish were most abundant in the northern and northwestern Gulf. Much of that has to do with increased fishery protections and the area producing more phytoplankton, the foundation of the aquatic food web.

The average sizes of fish were larger there compared to the West Florida Shelf, Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba where fewer large predators exist. The species compositions and size data provide a basis for evaluating resiliency to overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat loss, invasive species and other stressors on fish populations.

Specimens from the surveys continue to be tested for oil residues, other organic pollutants and heavy metals. Overall the degree of oil contamination of fish from the northern Gulf continues to decline, although no areas assessed so far are oil free. The goal of this research is to establish just where the oil contamination baseline is in the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon.

###

In addition to USF, the team consisted of researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of Havana. The research was funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), which was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP to study the environmental impact of Deepwater Horizon.

Top five species:

1. Atlantic Sharpnose Shark (2,156)

2. Red Snapper (1,710)

3. King Snake Eel (1,414)

4. Tilefish (1,274)

5. Gulf Smoothhound (1,080)

Top species by region:

North-Central- Atlantic Sharpnose Shark (1,881)

Northwestern- Red snapper (1,180)

West Florida Shelf- Red Grouper (803)

Southwestern- Cuban Dogfish (273)

Yucatan Peninsula- Blackline tilefish (135)

Cuba- Red Hind (98)

Tina Meketa | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Measurement Device: Carbon Dioxide As Geothermometer
21.05.2019 | Universität Heidelberg

nachricht Cause for variability in Arctic sea ice clarified
14.05.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

Im Focus: Recording embryonic development

Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells

The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Synthesis of helical ladder polymers

21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

Ultra-thin superlattices from gold nanoparticles for nanophotonics

21.05.2019 | Materials Sciences

Chaperones keep the tumor suppressor protein p53 in check: How molecular escorts help prevent cancer

21.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>