The University of South Florida, Eckerd College, Florida Institute of Oceanography, Hamburg University of Technology, Mote Marine Laboratory, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University, University of Calgary, University of Miami, University of South Alabama, University of West Florida, Wageningen University

March 2014 Newsletter
In This Issue
Contact Us
Research Updates
Education and Outreach
Related News
In the News
Quick Links

On the Web:

Contact List



Steven Murawski


Chief Scientist

David Hollander


Center Coordinator

Sherryl Gilbert


Cruise Coordinator



Data Manager

Todd Chavez


Education and Outreach

Teresa Greely

Liesl Hotaling

Hello C-IMAGE Members,

It's been a busy start to 2014 and it was great to see all of you at our 3rd All Hands Meeting in Mobile, AL.   

Attention:  If you have a publication accepted, students receiving any special recognition, or any other information that is C-IMAGE newsworthy, don't feel you need to wait until your quarterly report to inform us. We're always looking for content for our social media outlets. You're also encouraged to share any of our outreach products with your institution's marketing team.
Administrative .....


Conference Calls:

We took a bit of a breather from our conference calls for January and February but we're picking up where we left off.  Our first call of 2014 will be on March 20, 1:30-2:30pm EDT.  Cameron Ainsworth, John Walsh and Jason Lenes will give updates on our Task 6 Ecosystem Modeling efforts.  We'll also update you on the RFP-4 process.


As always, please use this time to connect to all of the other C-IMAGE partners if you have something you would like to discuss. 


Past calls:


Tuesday October 1, 2013, 11:00am EDT 

Task 4 Update: Impacts on Benthic Ecosystem, Plankton and Fish Communities, and Marine Mammals


Thursday November 14, 2013: RFP-4

After reviewing all of the submitted one-pagers, Steve gave a fantastic overview of our vision for our next round of potential funding and outlined key science objectives.


Tuesday December 3, 2013, 11:00am EST

Task 5 Update: Ecotoxicology


Tuesday January 7, 2014, 11:00am EST

Oil Spill Meeting/All Hands Meeting Discussions



GoMRI approved our continuation onto Year 3 in November, 2013 and we've executed all but one subagreement amendment for Year 3 funding.  


4-Page Summary Objective, RFP-4: 

C-IMAGE leadership requested a 4-page summary of proposed research objectives for each Task. This document should be written by your Task Lead and submitted to Sherryl and Steve by March 17, 2014. Steve, David and Sherryl will then synthesize the drafts into a clear vision of our goals for the consortium. When drafting this, include:


1) Research Objectives: scientific questions, expected milestones, ultimate goals, timelines, combination of state-of-the-art research approaches with deep scientific knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico to create fundamental advances in understanding the interactions that occurred and continue to occur between the marine ecosystem, oil, and dispersants. 


2) Approach: innovation and best practices, key personnel, # of post docs and students (template forthcoming).  Provide sufficient detail to allow assessment of the scientific merit of the proposal.


Please visit GoMRI's website for details on the RFP-4.


Conflict of Interest Forms:

If you have researchers and post docs new to the C-IMAGE program, please notify Sherryl know so she can add them to the participant list.  They also need to fill out a Conflict of Interest form to be in compliance with the Master Research Agreement.


Your Year 3 Quarter 1 report is due Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

Please make an effort to be thorough with your reporting.  We want to make sure the Research Board has a complete picture of our activities, especially your publication list.  You will receive the latest GoMRI template shortly.

Research Updates:



Modifications of the high pressure lab at TUHH include software to semi-automate the rise velocity measurement of methane bubbles in seawater under pressure, the installation of an endoscopic camera that determines the particle size distributions inside the jet (SOPAT) and modifying the module for test crude oil jets in addition to methane and methane hydrates. Initial particle side distributions in the single phase methane jet (mean particle size 350 um) and single phase oil jet (mean particle size 147 um) are completed. Single oil jet experiments are completed with diesel oil, light crude, and a low emulsification oil. Other types of oil and multiphase jet experiments are next. To foster communications between the experimental and modeling groups, we initiated a student exchange opportunity between TAMU and TUHH. A model sensitivity analysis was performed to show how particle size distributions impact the first peeling height. Publications are in progress.


High pressure biodegradation experiments were performed with deep sediments taken from the GoM by our Penn State and West Florida partners. The strains of bacteria that are present and actively degrading methane are highly dependent on pressure. In particular, experiments in high pressure reactors and low pressure control reactors showed a negative impact of high pressure on the growth of a naphthalene degrading bacterium. When biodegradation rates are incorporated into the far-field model, the model results show better agreement with field data (Lindo et al. 2014). Experimental design and source and surrogate oil characterizations are complete for calculating partitioning coefficients in dead source oil. These results will be incorporated into near field modeling efforts.



Lindo-Atichati, D., Paris, C. B., Le Henaff, M., Schedler, M., Valladares-Juarez, A. G., Muller, R. Simulating the effects of droplet size, high pressure biodegradation, and variable flow rate on the subsea evolution of deep plumes from the Macondo blowout, Deep Sea Research, Special Issue "The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem: Before During, and After the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill", in press 



Much of the last couple of months has been devoted to analyzing the large number of water, sediment, and fish samples collected during the busy 2013 field season. Some highlights so far...

Acoustic and camera-based datasets have also been collected to study deep diving cetacean responses to natural and anthropogenic forces and to determine shifts in community structure in reef fish. Sperm whales populations correlate positively with sea surface temperature, sea surface height anomalies, and wind, and negatively with oil. (Merkens, 2013, PhD Dissertation)


Garcia-Pineda et al. (2013) show that Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) may not only be used to detect oil on the surface, but also to identify regions of thick emulsified surface oil.


Our Ecosystem Modeling group with help from colleagues at Mote Marine Laboratory and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology show the value of using gliders, satellites, and field measurements together to study 3-d structures in the ocean and use a Karenia brevis bloom as an example.


Our latest count is "34 in preparation".

Education and Outreach.....


Student Abroad Program:

Saman Hosseini, a recent graduate from the Hamburg University of Technology, spent a couple of months here in the US at the University of South Florida helping out with our November 2013 cruise in the Gulf and then he was off to Texas A&M University to perform a sensitivity analysis on the near-field model in Scott Socolofsky's lab.  During his stay, Sam produced an informative C-IMAGE highlight video (subtitled in German) to show at the Night of Science Festival in Hamburg, Germany on November 2, 2013.


Sam also participated on one of our camera technology expeditions on the Weatherbird II and kept a blog while at sea. While seasickness kept him a bit quiet, he managed to give Steve Murawski's graduate student, Sarah Grasty, a hand near the end.


Another student from the Hamburg University of Technology, Lennard Anderson, is at the University of Hawaii working with GISR's Steven Masutani to develop a mass transfer module that will improve high pressure modeling efforts. We hope to foster more of these student exchanges as opportunities come up! 


St. Pete Science Festival: 


Many C-IMAGE scientists and students came out to participate in the 3rd Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival.  Over 20,000 science citizens came out to enjoy a perfect St. Pete Saturday while learning a few things about the world around them. 

C-IMAGE students Susan Snyder, Emily Chancellor and Sarah Grasty teach a young generation about fish anatomy while having fun.
A sample of our artwork collection!

















Podcasts: Mind Open Media released two C-IMAGE podcasts!

Fitting the Gulf of Mexico Inside a Computer: How to build an ecosystem model




Our modeling podcast was picked up and streamed on PRI's Living on Earth. GoMRI's Maggie Dannreuther offered a collection of all of our podcasts on GoMRI's site.


Our next podcast is in production and should be released any moment!



St. Petersburg area teachers gathered at the USF Clam Bayou Marine Education Center on Saturday, February 1 for an all-day workshop on building water temperature sensors. The workshop was part of the Student Enabled Network of Sensors for the Environment using Innovative Technology (SENSE IT).

SENSE IT brings real world environmental sensor networks into the high school classroom.  During the workshop, teachers learned how to construct and calibrate sensors using multimeters, thermistors, and other electrical materials. They also received supplies and instructions for building sensors with their students back in their classrooms where they will be challenged to design, build, deploy and interpret data from their own environmental sensors.


The sensor construction lessons incorporate a variety of disciplines, including science, engineering, math, and computer programming, and give students real-world exposure to the scientific process. Once teachers and students have gone through the initial water temperature sensor exercises, additional lesson plans are available through the SENSE IT website on how to make other types of environmental sensors. 

From GoMRI.... 
GoMRI has released two more Request for Proposals that C-IMAGE partners may find interesting.  RFP-V is for research activities for GoMRI Years 6-8 (1 January 2016 - 31 December 2018) involving individual investigators or collaborative efforts comprising a principal investigator and up to three co-principal investigators. The total funds available for distribution through the 2016-2018 GoMRI Individual Investigators RFP will be approximately $9 million per year.  See the full announcement here.

There is also a request for proposals for the creation of a documentary to share critical GoMRI research findings on effects of the oil spill. The deadline for submission is March 19, 2014 at 5pm. See the full announcement here.

Feel free to pass along to interested parties.

Site Visit from Administrators and GoMRI Board Members
On October 9-10, 2013 we hosted personnel from GoMRI and COL for an "administrative site review" of the C-IMAGE grant. The purpose of the review was to examine the financial, HR, scientific oversight and contract administration aspects of how C-IMAGE is being run.  Members of the review team included Kevin Shaw (GoMRI), Jenny Hauser (COL), Derek Herr (COL), and Chris Kirby (GoMRI).  On the USF side we had Steven Murawski, Sherryl Gilbert, David Hollander, Tim Trowbridge, Anita Thompson, Holly Peterson, and several employees from Tampa Financial Services.  The group examined a variety of policies and procedures that are employed to manage the grant among the sub-awardees, for internal controls on purchasing and the way that the C-IMAGE grant is administered on a day-to-day basis.  

The GoMRI Research Board visit took place on November 4-6, 2013. Board members Richard Shaw, John Shepherd, Denis Wiesenburg, and David Halpern attended along with Mike Carron, Caitlin McPartland, and Chuck Wilson from the GoMRI.  C-IMAGE was represented by Claire Paris, Michael Schlter, Kendra Daly, David Hollander, Steven Murawski, Cameron Ainsworth, Todd Chavez, Teresa Greely, and Sherryl Gilbert.  The GoMRI Board enjoyed meeting with our students and post docs from USF, UWF, UMiami, and TUHH.

We expect to see a formal written review of the site visit soon.  While not complete, here are some highlights from our closing meeting.

  • The management structure of C-IMAGE is impressive, having a PI, CSO and full time coordinator, as well as the task leads seems to work well for C-IMAGE
  • There is good management of the depth and breadth of research in C-IMAGE focusing on only two of the 5 themes outlined by GoMRI
  • Data management is "great" and it is likely that Todd will be asked to join the GRIIDC Board of Directors
  • Doing "really well" in outreach activities, leveraging on-site personnel and existing E&O programs is a big plus for C-IMAGE
  • The "International Richness" of C-IMAGE is a big plus and a positive aspect of C-IMAGE
  • Engagement activities with API and federal agencies is very positive and encouraged
  • The Board encourages efforts such as MOSSFA and if we have any more ideas for similar synthesis workshops and efforts they will consider funding them
  • The biology work by C-IMAGE fills an important gap (not too much work on biology in GoMRI overall) and we are headed in the right direction 
The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference
C-IMAGE's fingerprint was everywhere at the Gulf of Mexico Conference, contributing 14 talks and 57 posters.  C-IMAGE PI's and co-PI's chaired or co-chaired 4 sessions, and C-IMAGE PI Steven Murawski gave one of the five closing plenary talks.  It was a busy (and cold) week! 

C-IMAGE student travel awards went to Shokouh Rahsepar, Sophie Vonk, Martina Schedler, Karen Malone and Lauren Reilly. Congratulations to all of you!

Okeanos Explorer:

NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Program is conducting mapping and ROV explorations in the Gulf of Mexico during the Spring of 2014. Priority mapping includes deep water areas of the NW Gulf of Mexico south and southeast of the Flower Garden Banks. There are also SE and SW Florida Escarpment priority transects. If interested in the data or expressing data collection priorities, please review the full 2014 Gulf of Mexico Expedition document.

Data Resource:
Late last year, BP released a massive amount of water chemistry data that is available for public download and use. This list is being updated monthly so please check back often.



The first Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA) workshop was hosted at Florida State University, COAPS October 22-24, 2013. Attendees include scientists from 5 GoMRI centers, federal agencies, and private industry. The workshop report is ready for download.


The MOSSFA panel also hosted a Town Hall Meeting at the GoMRI Conference on Tuesday January 28th that was also well attended.


Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Event:


The Blue Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Event will take place in St. Petersburg, Florida November 3-9, 2014.  At the heart of BLUE Ocean Film Festival is an international film competition and festival that screens over 100 of the world's ocean films in more than 20 award categories. A Conservation Summit and Film/Media Industry Conference held during the Festival draws leaders and luminaries from the marine conservation, film and art worlds. Film screenings and conservation events are open to the public, along with memorable social events that provide an intimate environment for networking with filmmakers and scientists. Final submission deadline is May 2, 2014. 
C-IMAGE in the News....

Dr. Dana Wetzel and her team from Mote Marine Laboratory discuss the potential long term impacts an oil spill can have on fish. 
Congratulations to Martina Schedler, Nneka Maryrose Enwena, Dr. Ana Gabriela Valladares Ju�rez and Prof. Rudolf M�ller 
They received 3rd place in the BlueCompetition, an international competition that revolves around gas analysis in bioprocessing.

Your C-IMAGE Administrative Team