July 2015 Newsletter

Stay updated with our bi-monthly newsletters!
The University of South Florida, Eckerd College, Florida Institute of Oceanography, Florida State University, Georgia Tech, Harte Research Institute, Mind Open Media, Mote Marine Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Technical University of Hamburg, Texas A&M University, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, University of Calgary, University of Miami, University of South Alabama, University of Western Australia, University of West Florida, Wageningen University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

C-IMAGE II has had a busy two-months! Consortia members continue publishing their research, educating the public, and preparing for the three field cruises beginning July 29th aboard the R/V Justo Sierra
Conference Calls:
Task 1 has been using 4D modeling to observe oil concentrations.
Our monthly conference calls are Task-themed to cap them at one hour. 


Previous Calls:
Task 1 - Near- and Far-Field Modeling - Claire Paris & David Lindo- Atichati
June 16, 2015
Updates included 4D Visualization of oil concentrations, estimating DWH exposure in Red Snapper and Gag Grouper, review of a recent Socolofsky article , and Ixtoc-I oil fate hindcast modeling.  
GoMRI Outreach Call
June 16, 2015
Task 5-Ecotoxicology Updates - Dana Wetzel & Kevan Main
June 18, 2015
MOTE has constructed their fish exposure facility in Sarasota, FL with the goal of monitoring changes in oil metabolism by previously unexposed fish.
For detailed call notes, contact Sherryl Gilbert.

Next Call:
Task 2 - High-Pressure, Low-Temperature
July, 14 2015 9:00 AM EDT (1:00 PM GMT)

Conflict of Interest Forms:
GoMRI Requires all investigators to complete a Conflict of Interest Form. An investigator is defined by NSF as:

" the principal investigator, co-principal investigators/co-project directors, and any oth er person at t he institution who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research or educational activities funded or proposed for funding by NSF." 

If there are any questions, please email  Sherryl Gilbert or  Ben Prueitt .

Being a member of the GoMRI community, data management protocols come with the highest priority. Your data must be submitted  before publication or within one year of collection to the GRIID-C database. Any questions can be answered by Todd Chavez, Sherryl Gilbert or Ben Prueitt.
Quarterly Reports:
Your Year 1 Quarter 2 activity reports are due July 15th, 2015.  Both Word and Excel formats are required.  Make sure to review the "Participants" and "Students" tabs and update information accordingly.  Please keep format in mind as you're generating these reports.

C-IMAGE Webpage:
The C-IMAGE website is getting a makeover. Updates are being made throughout the website to make content and news more accessible. We continue to update the facebook and twitter  with C-IMAGE news. A renovated website release date is set for early-July.
Mud & Blood-Summer Expedition 2015
Between July and the next newsletter, C-IMAGE will have completed two sampling trips into the Gulf of Mexico as part of the annual Mud & Blood Summer Expedition.  Utilizing the R/V Justo Sierra (UNAM) and R/V Weatherbird II (FIO) researchers will collect Gulf sediment cores and fish samples to progress the understanding of oil spills to Gulf ecosystems.

Unique to the first trip in the southern Gulf are (1) collaborating with the Universidad Nacional Aut?noma de M?xico (UNAM) on mutual issues and research questions regarding oil spills and (2) discovering 35 years of changes in sediment records from the 1979-80 Ixtoc I spill. Cruise I aboard the R/V Justo Sierra is  scheduled for July 29, 2015 to August 11, 2015 departing Tuxpan, Mexico and returning to Brownsville, Texas .
Lowering the Multi-Core into the Gulf for sediment samples.
The second cruise aboard the R/V Weatherbird II will return to the northern Gulf of Mexico collecting sediment and fish samples to understand the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon. Cruise two will depart St. Petersburg, FL on August 15, 2015, and return August 31, 2015.

The final cruise of Mud & Blood will focus on collecting fish samples from the Southern Gulf with the goal of collecting "unexposed" fish as a possible baseline for oil exposure experiments. Also notable with this cruise is the final leg, a trans-Gulf sampling expedition from Tuxpan, MX to St. Petersburg, FL. The four-day trek will include plankton, water samples, and fish studies in the first Gulf-wide trip of its kind.

Dr. Patrick Schwing, USF Post-Doc and Justo Sierra cruise director, was asked what he's looking forward to aboard the upcoming cruises, " I am most excited to see how the sedimentary records of the Ixtoc oil event compare to what we are seeing in the Northern GOM following the Deepwater Horizon."
Fish Exposure Studies Begin July 6
Task 5 is a collaboration between MOTE Marine Laboratory, Wageningen University, University of West Florida, and USF-College of Marine Science looking at Toxicology of fishes using gulf samples and exposure experiments.

The exposure studies are new to C-IMAGE II and plan to expose fish to varying levels of non-lethal oil exposure and monitor physiological and behavioral changes over time. The initial injections will begin July 6th, 2015.

To aid in the collection of exposure data, MOTE has developed a data repository to organize their findings. This data repository is for C-IMAGE personnel only. Contact Ben Prueitt for access to the data portal.
C-IMAGE Student of the Month: Boryoung Shin 
Boryoung Shin is a third year, Korean PhD student studying anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation under Joel Kostka at Georgia Tech. Oil released during the Deepwater Horizon blowout was deposited in deep ocean sediments, where "it has a high chance to reach the anaerobic zone in the sediment."


When asked about her studies, Ms. Shin said:

"My research is focused on anaerobic respiration coupled with hydrocarbon oxidation [...] I initiate a lot of enrichment culture under those conditions with hydrocarbons and then see the changes of microbial communities after hydrocarbon contamination [by detecting] the biomarker genes that are responsible for hydrocarbon degradation." 


Boryoung's samples come from the northern Gulf of Mexico, but will find important evidence when the Ixtoc-I region in the southern Gulf is sampled this summer. "It is important to understand how oil is processed in deep sediments" Shin said. She hopes her research will progress the general understanding of Task 3 work.


Boryoung studies anaerobic respiration in ocean sediments.


We asked Shin a few more questions, and her responses prove that scientists are human too!


(Q) What are you doing today?

(A) I am still recovering from jet lag so I feel a little sleepy honestly (She just returned from Korea). I have to do lab work during the day, for example, making culture media, doing dishes, sequencing data analysis, etc.

I am planning to go to the gym in the evening.


(Q) What are your aspirations (for your research and/or after you graduate, life goals, etc.?)

(A) My major goal in life is to have a happy family by balancing well between my career and family.

I cannot decide which career path I want to follow between academia and [corporate] so I want to consider all chances for now.

My short term goal is, of course, getting nice results from my work and publish cool papers.

Monthly Student of the Month articles will be available on the C-IMAGE blog.

Other Student News:
Bo Yang successfully defended his PhD at the USF-College of Marine Science.

Emily Chancellor defended her M.S. Thesis at the University of South Florida-College of Marine Science.
Research Spotlight - Dr. John Gold (TAMU-CC) 
When C-IMAGE II began in January 2015 new consortium members at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) focused a number of their research questions on the genomic changes in fish after oil spills. Dr. John Gold, a researcher from TAMU-CC, studies  Population Genomics of fish species like Red Snapper and Golden Tilefish in the Gulf of Mexico.

Genomics focuses on all the genes (the collective genes) of a chromosome and interactions between individual genes, where genetics focuses on function of a single gene. Gold has studied Population Genomics of other exploited fish including King Mackerel and Red Drum, but his C-IMAGE research will focus on population impacts of oil spills.

John Gold takes tissue samples from oil-impacted fish for later genomics analysis.
Gold's main research questions center around understanding the future of a species including (1) what types of genetic changes occur in oil-impacted fish, and (2) will future species successfully reproduce after being impacted by oil and dispersants?

Gold benefits from new technologies to aid his research. "In this case, it's the field of genomics, which involves the next generation sequencing to obtain thousands of genetic markers" Gold said. Next generation sequencing technologies have increased the number of detected micro-satellites from fifteen - typical in traditional studies, into the thousands, which increases the power of Gold's research and results.

Although TAMU-Corpus Christi is new to C-IMAGE II, they have quickly become involved in several tasks. Paul Montagna, Melissa Rohal, Travis Washburn, and Rick Kalke are involved in studying oil-sediment deposition, fate, and impacts (Task 3). John Gold, Megan Robillard, David Portnoy, Greg Stuntz, Jennifer Wetz, Wes Tunnell, Matt Ajemian, and Tara Toppin study hydrocarbon impacts on fishes and invertebrates (Task 4), and David Yoskowitz focuses on ecosystem modeling (Task 6). The expertise from all TAMU-CC and Harte Institute members will be crucial in constructing a holistic view of oil spills in Gulf ecosystems.
C-IMAGE: Reaching Out in the Community....
Community outreach and education is something C-IMAGE will continue to focus on throughout the RFP-4 funding installment. Consortium members look to continue to relay new found knowledge to the community.

David Hollander, Dana Wetzel, and David Hastings address questions from the media on April 20, 2015.
Fifth Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon
News outlets including The Huffington Post and National Geographic covered spill related articles f ollowing the Fifth Anniversary of the  Deepwater Horizon  on April 20, 2015 . In total, 355 media outlets addressed DWH and GoMRI research reaching an estimated audience of over 310 Million readers. 

World Oceans Day, June 8, 2015
Ben Prueitt, Isabel Romero, and Aimee Brisbin (C-IMAGE Intern) answer the public's ocean questions on twitter.
Ocean Leadership organized a live Twitter event on World Oceans Day, using #MyOceanQ for responses. C-IMAGE's and DeepEnd's Isabel Romero (@IsabelR0mer0) answered the public's questions ranging from number of species in the ocean, to an increase in chemosynthetic organisms with hydrocarbon extraction. Also participating in #MyOceanQ were researchers from Oregon State University, Earth2Ocean, and the Marine Technology Society. See what types of questions were asked on World Oceans Day here

Pint of Science - Tampa, FL
David Hollander, Chief Scientist of C-IMAGE, speaks at Pint of Science in Tampa, FL
On May 20, 2015, Dr. David Hollander (USF) took part in Pint of Science at Southern Brewing in Tampa, FL. Pint of Science brings in local experts in geology, astronomy, and marine sciences to speak with the public (no PowerPoints allowed) on topical science issues.

David spoke to the crowd of over 100 for 45 minutes, and was later swarmed by audience members wanting to know more about oils, sediments, relief efforts.

Pint of Science has other chapters in Boston, Houston, San Diego, and Berlin.

Near- & Far-Field Modeling Artwork Display
Rowland's 3D sculpture of oil dispersion hangs at Eckerd College
Robin Rowland, an Eckerd College art student, has collaborated with Claire Paris and Task 1 members to create a 3D sculpture of the Deepwater Horizon
oil dispersion. Using dispersion models from Paris' group, Rowland's work - made entirely from test tube caps - shows the density and location of suspended oil in the northern Gulf.
"She wants to be accurate," Paris said, "she's asking how many droplets there are at different depths, she wants our model outputs to represent her work." 

Annual Oceanography Camp for Girls Kicks Off
Lauren McDaniel (front) teaches 9th grade girls how to collect plankton samples.
The Oceanography Camp for Girls (OCG) at USF-College of Marine Science, engages high-school girls in the variety and wonder of marine science. The camp began its 25th year on Monday, June 22, 2015 and Dr. Lauren McDaniel had the opportunity to show a group of four girls how to collect and analyze plankton samples.

Throughout the three-week camp, 9th grade girls will explore the science labs - the same labs conducting C-IMAGE research, conduct field sampling aboard the R/V Bellows, and plan a mock-cruise into the Gulf of Mexico with a towed camera system,  C-BASS.

We are beginning to contact outreach coordinators at C-IMAGE partner institutions to provide more content and news on other C-IMAGE research. Please contact Ben Prueitt  for ideas on how to engage the public with your research.
Ixtoc-I Documents Available for Download
Through a donation by Endowed Chair and Professor Emeritus Wes Tunnell (TAMU-CC), several initial reports from the Ixtoc-I relief efforts have been digitized for C-IMAGE use and reference. The reports were published shortly after the well was capped, 9.5 months after the blowout began.

The Ixtoc-I well spilled an estimated 476M-800M liters of oil in 9.5 months.
Reports from the Texas House of Representatives, NOAA, University of Texas-Marine Science Institute, and Instituto Mexicano del Petroleo (Mexican Petroleum Institute) detail the efforts of the cap operation and clean up in 1979 & 1980.

Below are their individual links to view or download. If there are any problems, please contact Ben Prueitt.

Tar balls along a Mexican beach

C-IMAGE is pleased to announce a formal partnership with Agilent Technologies through their Academic Awards program.  Agilent Technologies has graciously donated a High Performance Liquid Chromatography system (HPLC). This system, working in tandem with a LC Triple Quad Mass Spectrometer and other instruments in the Hollander/Murawski lab will be processing biological and sediment samples collected through the C-IMAGE project. These samples will be collected over the next three years as C-IMAGE undertakes a Gulf of Mexico-wide survey of environmental variables to establish a baseline for ecosystem health.
USF Provost Ralph Wilcox, USFCMS Dean Jacqueline Dixon, Agilent's Elaine Ricicki and Adam Woodhouse, C-IMAGE PI Steven Murawski, C-IMAGE Chief Science Officer David Hollander

This investment from Agilent and GoMRI along with the continued support from the University solidifies the College's high standards in employing state of the art analytical techniques that make it poised to successfully compete for additional grants that rely on analytical capabilities that otherwise would need to be contracted out to other institutions or agencies.  This investment creates a competitive advantage that will only bring additional attention and funding to the College.

New Additions....
Aimee Brisbin, C-IMAGE Intern
C-IMAGE welcomes our summer intern Aimee Brisbin. Aimee is a Senior at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL studying both biological and environmental sciences.

Aimee has taken the lead on a video project by conducting video interviews of C-IMAGE researchers, students and technicians with a variety of questions. These interviews will be condensed into 2-3 minute videos explaining C-IMAGE to a broader audience via social media and our YouTube channel. Additionally, Ms. Brisbin has been updating C-IMAGE blog posts and news articles .

Van Sebille, E., Scussolini, P., Durgadoo, J. V., Peeters, F. J. C., Biastoch, A., Weijer, W., Turney, C., Paris, C. B., Zahn, R. Ocean Currents Generate Large Footprints in Marine Paleoclimate Proxies, Nature Communications, 2015, 6.


Weber, S., Battles, J. J., Peterson, L., Roberts, B. J., Peterson, R. N., Hollander, D. J., Chanton, J. P., Joye, S. B. (2015) Hercules 265 Rapid Response: Immediate ecosystem impacts of a natural gas blowout incident. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical studies in oceanography, 2015, in press

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