March 2017 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/TAMU-Corpus Christi, Mind Open Media, Mote Marine Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Technical University of Hamburg, Texas A&M University, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, University of Calgary, University of Miami, University of South Alabama, University of Western Australia, University of West Florida, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Wageningen University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Welcome to Year 3 of C-IMAGE II! 2016 was a busy year for the consortium. 32 publications. 140 presentations. 67 total students. This year C-IMAGE looks to integrate results across tasks and GoMRI centers. Recently, the Story Collider at GoMOSES brought emotional stories to science, the newest The Loop podcast episodes are out, and several new Students of the Month share their research.
GoMRI RFP-VI Proposal Submitted:
With collaboration from all of our partners, our proposal to continue our research into RFP-VI was submitted on 2 March.  Funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative will cover synthesis efforts from 2018 through 2019.

3 October, 2016 - RFP-VI Released
14 November, 2016 - Letter of Intent Submission Date
7-9 December - C-IMAGE All Hands, St. Pete Beach, FL
6-9 February, 2017 - 2017 GoMOSES Meeting, New Orleans, LA
3 March, 2017 - Full Proposal Due
September 2017 - Award Notification
January 2018 through December 2019 - RFP VI Period

Year 2 Annual Report Submitted:
The four activity reports were condensed into the annual report summarizing major accomplishments and findings from 2016. Thank you for all your efforts in 2016, without our PIs and researchers, C-IMAGE would not be as successful as it has become.
The next quarterly reports are due Friday, 14 April.

2017 GoMOSES Conference, 6-9 February, 2017, New Orleans, LA
C-IMAGE was well represented at the recent conference. PIs co-chaired 10 different sections, and presented 75 unique research  topics; of those, 48 were oral presentations.  

GoMRI Webinars:
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative presents a series of webinars about research topics from around GoMRI.

Past Webinars:
Dr. David Hollander USF, Chief Scientist C-IMAGE Consortium, Generations Apart But of Common Ancestry: A Comparative Study of MOSSFA Events During the IXTOC (1979-1980) and Deepwater Horizon (2010) Sub-Surface Blowouts
Five Unique Perspectives of DwH - Tales from the Story Collider
Personal Stories show the full impacts of Oil Spills
While studying the mechanisms and impacts of oil spills on Gulf ecosystems, we sometimes lose our perspective of the impacts marine oil blowouts have on people; especially the families of the 11 men killed during the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. The Story Collider kicked off the 2017 GoMOSES Conference with five stories from people who have a story about science and the Gulf to share.

Elva Escobar        Estelle Robichaux        Charlie Henry         John Farrington         Robert Campo

Dealing with the Spill
Charlie Henry, a Louisiana native, is the Director of NOAA's Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center in Mobile, AL. In addition oil spills, Henry works as a liaison of science into the disaster response to minimize the damage done by natural or man-made disaster.

His efforts with Deepwater Horizon began like any other oil spill with a phone call late at night from the Coast Guard, but as the spill progressed he and his colleagues had a feeling that this one was going to be big. Henry breaks down his job into five questions spill responders ask during a spill: (1) what was spilled (chemical, oil), (2) where is it going to go, (3) what is going to get hit and impacted, (4) how is it going to hurt (toxic or physical response), and (5) what can we do to make it better?

John Farrington, a chemical oceanographer, first heard of DwH from news headlines at home. After letting the tragedy of April 20th settle, he thought "Not again." Farrington experienced another mega Gulf spill in the late-1970s. While the Ixtoc I blowout in 1979 spread oil across the southern and western Gulf for 9 months, Farrington and colleagues collected samples from around the Campeche Bay to understand the chemical properties of the oil and what impacts it might have on different ecosystems.

This scientific response of Farrington's group provided vital context to the evolution of Ixtoc I, and even today helps C-IMAGE researchers study the impacts 35+ years later.

A Memorable Moment
Elva Escobar is the director of the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She studies organisms at the seafloor to understand nutrients traveling through the environement. Her story involved her first trip in a deep-sea submersible and the unexpected events waiting for her in the deep sea.

In the days preparing for the 8-hour dive to the sea-floor, reviewing science plans, planning meals and bathroom breaks, a nervousness was lingering for Escobar. Once inside the submersible with two French pilots, the calm of the ocean came over the crew on their way down to 2,500m. Rested on the sea floor, Escobar was ready to get to work, but the French had priorities. Lunch. From the sub's compartments comes salad, soups, cheeses, chocolates and a main course filet, all complete with a bottle of French wine. Research resumed after the meal and once back on the ships deck, Elva is greeted with an ice bath, to celebrate her first submersible dive.

Robert Campo is a 4th generation Louisiana  fisherman. For 117 years, the Campo family has known nothing but fishing. Campo was patrolling his oyster beds on April 20th, while the afternoon was like any other one before, 50 bags of oysters to call it a day. When back at the dock, he gets a call from a New York area code.

On the other line is Anne Thompson (NBC Nightly News), asking about the impacts of the spill on the family business, the rig exploding. "Woah, slow down!" Campo says. The Deepwater Horizon news broke to him over the phone and he immediately began thinking how the winds would impact his oyster beds. In the following weeks, fish kills washed ashore for miles along the Gulf coast. Campo's beds still have not recovered from the spill, he's moved into shrimping since and continues to fish in Gulf waters because it is his home, and he knows nothing else.

Path towards Recovery
Estelle Robichaux is a Restoration Project Analyst at the Environmental Defense Fund. Her memory of hearing about the spill came when she was finishing a semester in graduate school, and preparing to travel to Europe. Her busy travel schedule didn't allow for her to catch up on the daily events in April and May, 2010, but her curiosity and concern for the Gulf's health caught up to her. With a loved one ill, and oil in the Gulf, Robichaux saw the people and places she loved change from what she knew.

While working at the Environmental Defense Fund years later, the BP settlement money came through to pay for large-scale restorations to the marshes. The empowerment Robichaux felt after the settlement give her hope for the recovery of the Gulf.

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative  has provided a path towards recovery from oil spill. Not just Deepwater Horizon,  future spills too. The research produced by GoMRI centers provides recover and restoration agencies a better tools and resources to better understand Gulf dynamics and impacts.

Recordings of these stories will be adapted to a podcast series on the Story Collider webpage. To listen to last years stories from the Tampa event in February, visit the C-IMAGE Youtube Channel.
C-IMAGE Students of the Month
These two students of the month measure who the environment responds to oil spills. Bekka Larson, a PhD student uses sediment cores explain the history of the Gulf sea floor and M.S. student, Katelyn Knight uses microbial communities in the water.

February 2017
Rebekka Larson, PhD Student, University of South Florida & Eckerd College
Bekka Larson studies how the sea floor sediments respond to oil spills.
Bekka's research has taken her across the Gulf to see how environmental conditions are recorded by sediment records. Bekka has sampled Gulf sediments since the 2010 oil spill and compiled U.S., Mexican, and Cuban cores, completing a Gulf-wide baseline.

To read more about Bekka's research, visit the SotM blog here.

March 2017
Katelyn Knight, MS Student, University of West Florida
Katelyn measures salinity using a refractometer
Katelyn Knight is close to the conclusion of her Master's Degree at the University of West Florida. Katelyn Knight looks to make her mark in microbial research with her studies on their community structure in response to changes in the marine environment.

Read Katelyn's full Student of the Month Blog, here
The Risks for Fish - The Loop Ep. 10
C-IMAGE researchers dissect a Red Drum during the exposure trials
What happened to the fish in the days and weeks after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? With a suite of exposure studies, C-IMAGE researchers are monitoring fish health after oil exposure in order to find out. Dr. Dana Wetzel and Kevan Main of Mote Marine Laboratory give fish a small does of oil through either their food, water, or the sea floor sediments, then analyze how their bodies recover.

Mind Open Media producer David Levin talks to Dana Wetzel, Matt Resley, and Kevan Main about the risks fish have during oil spills and how this knowledge can assist response decisions.
C-IMAGE Accolades and Awards
Trio of Watkins Student Award for Excellence in Research to C-IMAGE Students
The James D. Watkins Student Award for Excellence in Research recognizes exceptional research and presentations at the annual Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Sciences Conference.

At the 2017 conference, three of the five awardees were C-IMAGE students as the best student presentations at the conference.
Travis Washburn, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Deep-Sea Ecosystem Services: Out of Sight but Still Invaluable

Susan Snyder, University of South Florida-College of Marine Science
Forming a Gulf-wide dataset of PAH exposure and accumulation in benthic-dependent teleosts.

Aprami Jaggi, University of Calgary
Experimental Simulation of effect of dispersants on Oil-Water Partitioning of low-molecular weight compounds during a deep submarine oil spill

Other award recipients
Brittany Evans, Eckerd College,  Effects of Salinity on the Toxicity of Oil Dispersants in Eastern Mud Snails

Joseph Sevigny, University of New Hampshire,  Genomic Responses to the Deepwater Horizon Event and Development of High-throughput Biological Assays for Oil Spills
Congratulations to all Admiral James D. Watkins Award recipients!

Marcia Trillo Invited to IOSC 2017
Marcia studies the evolution of oil chemicals suspended in Gulf waters
M.S. student, Marcia Trillo, was awarded a scholarship to present at the International Oil Spill Conference held in Long Beach, CA in May 2017. Marcia and her adviser, Claire Paris ( lab webpage), are working to understand the dynamics of deep-sea blowouts, especially the chemical components as a spill moves upwards in the water column. Congratulations Marcia!
Read Marcia's Student of the Month blog from May 2016!
MOSSFA News-Workshop, New Articles
Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation & Flocculent Accumulation Workshop
On the Monday before the GoMOSES Conference, the MOSSFA organizing committee hosted its 2nd annual workshop to discuss the three overarching components in the ongoing GoMRI MOSSFA research: MOSSFAPosters
  • Marine Oil Snow Formation
  • MOSSFA in the sediments
  • Numerical Modeling of MOSSFA
Attendees were divided up into breakout groups for most of the day and attended a poster session in the afternoon.  The committee will meet in late March to draft a workshop report which will highlight research updates and next steps.

New MOSSFA Articles
Study Summarizes Current Knowledge on Marine Oil Snow During and After DwH
The MOSSFA working group met in 2013 to discuss the latest research about the newly-discovered phenomenon. In 2016, a summary paper of our knowledge so far gives perspective to the causes and effects of oiled marine snow.

Study Finds Corexit Triggers EPS Production, Enhancing Marine Snow Formation
C-IMAGE Partners at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands have developed marine snow in mesocosm tanks to stimulate MOSSFA formation. Scientists observed in laboratory experiments the formation of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS, a natural microorganism excretion) when phytoplankton and their associated bacteria were exposed to Corexit dispersant. The researchers observed that Corexit can trigger microorganisms in the phytoplankton community to produce EPS, even without oil present. EPS production was induced within days, and energy drawn from the phytoplankton further enhanced the bacteria's EPS formation.
Justine vanEenennaam prepares the components for EPS formation.
Latest GoMRI Newsletter
gomri logo
Highlights include:
  • Summmary of the GoMOSES'17 conference
  • Headlines from the Story Collider
  • FAQs with Dr. Chuck Wilson
  • The Recover Consortium's Virtual Lab
  • Interviews with
    • Dr. Rita Colwell (Notes from the Board)
    • Dr. Jacinta Conrad (RFP V: Role of Microbial Motility for Degradation of
      Dispersed Oil)
C-IMAGE: Reaching Out in the Community....
GoMRI Outreach Coordinators Workshop  - New Orleans, LA - 6 February
GoMRI outreach teams discussed successes, challenges in Education & Outreach
On the Monday of the GoMOSES '17 conference, members from each of the 12 GoMRI centers met to discuss progress on the Currents Special Issue, Approaches & Inventory, and future plans for GoMRI outreach. C-IMAGE would like to thank the workshop organizers for the opportunity to share our thoughts on GoMRI outreach.

Ales & Wild Tales: Protecting Florida from Offshore Drilling
The Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana, the Friends of Tampa Bay, and C-IMAGE hosted booths at the Ales & Wild Tales in St. Petersburg, FL. Erin Handy of Oceana discussed the prospects and impacts of offshore drilling in Florida waters. The current moratorium, established by U.S. Congress, does not expire until 2022, but pressure from the oil industry looks to allow drilling sooner.

Upcoming Events
American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting: 20-24 August, Tampa, FL. Conference webpage

Featured Video
Dispatches from the Gulf 2-Sizzle Reel
Dispatches from the Gulf 2-Sizzle Reel

The C-IMAGE outreach team wants to hear more about how our members interact with the communities. If there is an upcoming event, let Ben Prueitt know and we can promote it through social media, and highlight it in upcoming newsletters.
Recent Publications

As research is submitted and published through the months, please remember to have this exact phrase in the Acknowledgements or a similar section:

"This research was made possible by a grant from The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.  Data are publicly available through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information & Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) at (doi: <doi1> [, <doi2>, <doi3> ...])."
"This research was made possible in part by a grant from The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, and in part by [list other sources]. Data are publicly available through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information & Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) at (doi: <doi1> [, <doi2>, <doi3> ...])."

Additionally, before submitting any manuscript for publication, verify with the data team ( Richard McKenzie & Todd Chavez) that GRIID-C has the data in place. 
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