Deepwater Horizon: Nine Years Later

On the ninth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we reflect on our research that stemmed from the largest and longest marine oil spill disaster to date, that resulted in approximately 4 million barrels of crude oil in the Northern Gulf of Mexico over 87 days. This event soiled thousands of miles of coastline and spread throughout the ocean environments from Texas to Florida. From this event, RECOVER along with 11 fellow Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative consortia were formed to research all aspects of the spill and its impacts on the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Many times, we are presented with this same question: “Why study something that occurred 9 years ago?”

Fireboat response teams continue to battle the fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, an offshore oil rig operated by BP on April 21st, 2010. (credit: NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration)

Although to many the Deepwater Horizon spill may seem long in the past, to RECOVER and our fellow GoMRI researchers, we continue to research and study this historical oil spill event, so that when the next oil spill occurs – which is inevitable – we will be more prepared and educated.

Photo was taken by NASA during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill event.

In honor of the anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, two of our consortia’s universities published articles detailing the research that continues today to aid in our understanding of its impact to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Below are the links for those articles.

Mahi-mahi released with a pop- up satellite archival tag from Wildlife computers.

The first is from the University of Miami’s special feature entitled “Assessing the impacts of oil contamination” featuring several Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative scientists, including features of RECOVER’s lead PI Dr. Martin Grosell, “Studying the impact of oil on mahi-mahi” and co-PI Dr. Claire Paris, “Delving into the use of dispersants”.  The second is from the University of Texas at Austin College of Natural Sciences article entitled “On Anniversary of Gulf Oil Spill, Science Has Insights for the Next Crisis” featuring a section on the research of RECOVER co-PI Dr. Andrew Esbaugh from their Marine Science Institute.

A red drum inside a swim chamber respirometer. This treadmill for fish allowed RECOVER scientists to study how crude oil exposure effects swim performance.