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

May 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

Nancy Thompson


Data Manager

Todd Chavez


Education and Outreach

Teresa Greely

Liesl Hotaling

Hello C-IMAGE Members,

Hope everyone's semester went well and that you're all up for a productive summer!

Ocean's Day 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida

Administrative .....


Conference Calls:

Cameron Ainsworth, Jason Lenes, and John Walsh gave a Task 6 Ecosystem Modeling update on our C-IMAGE Conference Call March 20, 2014.  Notes from the call are available for download.  Please contact Sherryl Gilbert if you would like to access the secure area of the website. 


Our next call will be the first week of June 2014 and will focus on Task 1, Near and Far Field Modeling.  Please keep an eye out for a Doodle Poll to indicate your availability.


The C-IMAGE Administrative Team would like to thank everyone for submitting the necessary paperwork for the RFP-4!

Research Updates (subset of activity reporting):



  • Implemented ocean circulation fields, computed new droplet size distributions, and conducted 8 simulations for different scenarios for the API Subsea Dispersant Modeling Intercomparison Workshop.
  • Ongoing communications between TUHH and UWF to optimize the methodologies for bacterial growth and hydrocarbon degradation studies under high pressure.
  • Partition experiments with "live" source oil B were carried out at Calgary.
  • Plunging jet experiments completed.
  • Experiment testing the influence of chemical dispersants on fresh/weathered oil biodegradation is completed (Wageningen).
  • Experiments to test the effect of chemical and mechanical dispersion on biodegradation have begun.
  • Continued analysis of short-lived radioisotopes indicate a relaxation of sediment accumulation rates.
  • Began running simulations for the northern GoM (De Soto Canyon) transect for comparison to carbon flux data (MOSSFA).
  • Comparing model output to core data Mass Accumulation Rates.
  • Oil effects module for Atlantis has been integrated into model; now awaiting spatial forcing files to drive the module. 


  • Conducted ROV hook and line sampling of reef fishes at natural reef sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
  • Video sampling and diet analysis are completed.
  • Liver PAH and muscle stable isotope analysis ongoing.
  • Species-specific cytokine primers were developed for red snapper which included IL-1β, IL-8, IL-10, and TNF-α, as well as golden tilefish IL-1β, IL-8, and TNF-α.  Using these primers, 5' and 3' rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) PCR was performed and bioinformatics work to analyze the resulting gene sequences is ongoing.  Cloning of an initial fragment of golden tilefish IL-10 is forthcoming. 
  • Completed PAH analysis of tarballs collected on a Pinellas County beach as well as some from Panhandle and Alabama beaches; tarballs (actually sand patties) were collected in January, 2013, from Sunset Beach, Treasure Island, Florida. Positive control tarballs (ie. DwH) were provided by Wade Jeffrey (Santa Rosa and Ft. Pickens) and Catherine Carmichael of WHOI (Gulf Shores AL and _Ft. Pickens 120212-02: collected at Gulf Shores, AL on 12/02/12070913-01: collected at Fort Pickens State Beach, FL on 07/09/13). Tarballs were tested for toxicity (Microtox) and genetic toxicity (Microscreen) 

Publications accepted this year:


Chen, S., Hu, C. In search of oil seeps in the Cariaco basin using MODIS and MERIS medium resolution data, Remote Sensing Letters, 2014 (in press)


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 


Masi, M., Ainsworth, C., Chagris, D. Statistical Analysis to Provide a Probabilistic Representation of Fish Diet Compositions from Multiple Data Sources: A Gulf of Mexico Case Study, Ecological Modeling, 2014, in press 


Murawski, S.A., Hogarth, W.T., Peebles, E.B., Stein, J.E., Ylitalo, G.M., Barbeiri, L. Prevalence of external skin lesions on PAH concentrations in Gulf of Mexico fishes, post-Deepwater Horizon, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 2014 (accepted). 


Paul, J. Response to comment on "Toxicity and Mutagenicity of Gulf of Mexico Waters During and After the Depwater Horizon Oil Spill", 2014, 28,3593-3594.


Weisberg, R. H., Zheng, L., Liu, Y., Murawski, S., Hu, C., Paul, J.  Did Deepwater Horizon Hydrocarbons Transit to the West Florida Continental Shelf?, Deep Sea Research II, 2014.


For more publication links, please visit our website.  If we're missing any, please contact us.

Education and Outreach.....


Ocean's Day in Tallahassee:

The three GoMRI funded Florida consortia were all at Ocean's Day in Tallahassee this year to talk about our research efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. This year, Ocean's Day overlapped with "Kid's Week" and were lucky to have the opportunity to talk with the next generation of scientists and activists.


Truth be told, they mostly came to our booth to take a picture with Deep-C's mascot and eat Swedish fish and Hershey's kisses.





Mind Open Media released a C-IMAGE Podcast about high pressure degradation"Oil: It's What's for Dinner."C-IMAGE scientists want to know more about how oil-eating microorganisms behave in the cold deep ocean to learn more about what happened to the oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout.  High pressure experiments underway at our high pressure facility at the Hamburg University of Technology focus on how these microbes use oil and what happens to them in the process.  Results from these studies may lead to a new way to clean up spills by eliminating its most poisonous ingredients.







The Florida Marine Science Educators Association's conference took place in Panama City Beach, FL April 24-27.  Their theme this year was CSI: Panama City Science and Investigation.  The conference highlighted STEM programs and curriculum, both in research and education.
CARTHE, DEEP-C, and C-IMAGE spoke with attendees and shared information about our Education and Outreach programs.

The C-IMAGE Education Team, aka the E-Team provided two GLOBE Teacher Professional Development this Spring for 18 Florida teachers.

  • GLOBE Environmental Science- Hydrology and Atmosphere, January 18, 2014
  • GLOBE Environmental Science - Soils, February 15, 2014

During trainings, using GLOBE environmental science protocols and data visualization, methods and parameters parallel many of the same parameters used for C-IMAGE system recovery science. For example, both C-IMAGE researchers and GLOBE citizen scientists collect and analyze atmospheric, hydrologic and sediment (or soil) conditions within their respective environments from the same locations over an extended time. In this way participants learn that science is a long-term process and takes multiple participants to establish a meaningful data set to identify trends and eventually construct models of a system.


Additionally, the C-IMAGE Education Team traveled to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University to facilitate a GLOBE Soils train the trainer series for FAMU's Soil Scientist.


On February 6-7th, 2014, the E-team provided training for scientists to learn how to teach teachers about environmental monitoring of soils using the GLOBE protocols. The C-IMAGE team was able to share about how we use the GLOBE protocols to parallel the at sea sampling conducted by C-IMAGE and the lessons learned from teachers at sea with our research teams. There were 12 faculty participants.


Education Opportunity out of Hamburg University of Technology: 


Please contact Prof. Dr.-Ing Michael Schluter or Sven Kastens for more information.

From GoMRI....  
GoMRI has released a "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.

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, 2015
It's never too early to look ahead.  Next year's conference will be February 16-19, 2015 in Houston, Texas.

GoMRI Research Webinar:

Please join us for the second GoMRI research webinar scheduled for June 18th at 3pm EDT/2pm CDT.


Our presenter is Dr. Jeff Chanton, a professor of Florida State University.  Dr. Chanton is an expert in chemical oceanography with a focus on methane and carbon dioxide production, emission and cycling, and/or stableand radiocarbon isotope analysis. He is also a researcher in the ECOGIG Consortium, which is working to understand the environmental signatures and impacts of natural seepage versus that of abrupt, large hydrocarbon inputs on coupled benthic-pelagic processes in deepwater ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, and to chart the long-term effects and mechanisms of ecosystem recovery from the 2010 Macondo well blowout, and the Deep-C Consortium, which is tracing the connectivity between the offshore and nearshore environments. 


Dr. Chanton's presentation, Tracers in the Gulf,will provide an overview on the use of natural abundance radio-isotopes to trace petro-carbon and methane flow following the oil spill.


This is the second in a series of webinars that will take place every other month, designed to inform GoMRI researchers of the various research efforts taking place within the GoMRI community. Stay tuned for details on how to RSVP.

Congratulations to.....
Karen Malone, a PhD student at the Technical University of Hamburg at Harburg for receiving the James D. Watkins award for excellence in research.  Ms. Malone was acknowledged for her poster "A new experimental module for the investigation of deep-sea oil spills under in-situ conditions" that was presented at the GoMRI Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in January.  
Great job, Karen!!! 
Two Eckerd College students working on C-IMAGE projects received honorable mention in the Sigma XI Research Symposium.
Corday Selden gave a superb presentation on "Correctional changes in benthic foraminifera abundance and sedimentary redox conditions after the Deepwater Horizon Blowout Event and successfully defended her senior thesis.
 Claire Miller also had a successful thesis defense entitled "Redox sensitive trace metals and nutrients in sediments and pore waters in the Gulf of Mexico: Understanding the degradation of organic carbon following the Deepwater Horizon Blowout



Katie Watson, a MS student at the University of South Florida, presented her defense "Spatial and Temporal Extent of a Subsurface Hydrocarbon Intrusion following the Deepwater Horizon Blowout."


USF graduate student Kristina Deak was awarded the 2014 Guy Harvey Scholarship.  Her proposal is "Cloning and expression analysis of IL-1b, IL-8, IL-10, and TNFa in vitro and in vivo in Lutjanus campechanus and Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps: potential biomarkers for oil and dispersant exposure". 


Congratulations to Lindsey Dornberger, a C-IMAGE USF graduate student, who received honorable mention for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.



As of February 1, 2014, Dr. Jyotika Virmani stepped away from her position as FIO's Associate Director. Dr. Nancy Thompson has replaced her as co-PI on the C-IMAGE project.  Dr. Thompson has over 30 years of experience in fisheries science and the last 15 have been spent as a Science and Research Director at NOAA/NMFS, first at the SE Fisheries Science Center in Miami then at the NE Fisheries Science Center.  She has extensive experience with managing and administering large multi-state and multi-institutional research programs. In the last three years she has provided leadership for the Keys Marine Laboratory as its Director working on an IPA between NOAA and FIO.  The Keys Marine Laboratory is an asset of the State University System of Florida and is managed by FIO. Dr. Thompson spent virtually her entire research career working on marine resource issues related to the Gulf of Mexico and southeast.  Her expertise includes protected species, which is a unique feature of the C-IMAGE consortium, and she has extensive relationships with many GoMRI funded researchers.  We feel her background and qualifications will successfully serve C-IMAGE as co-PI of the FIO award and C-IMAGE warmly welcomes her!

C-IMAGE in the News....

Florida Matters:

It's been four years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This Florida Matters episode takes a look at the lingering effects, ongoing clean-up efforts and the future of drilling in the Gulf.


It features C-IMAGE PI Steven Murawski and Chief Scientist David Hollander along with an oil industry expert who have spent these past four years researching the effects of one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history.

Other Consortia...

Deep-C Co-PI Joel Kostka was hosted by David Hollander last month to give a special seminar, "Movable feast: the response of benthic microbes to the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico".

C-MEDS PI Vijay John came to the University of South Florida's College of Engineering to give a seminar on his research. 
C-IMAGE was honored to be invited! It was a great presentation and we learned a lot about biomolecular engineering.

Your C-IMAGE Administrative Team