September 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

With the completion of two-thirds of our summer field season, the C-IMAGE I closeout approaching, and plans in place for the 2016 GoMRI Conference, C-IMAGE is moving along strongly through Year 1.
C-IMAGE I Closeout - 17 September, 2015:
In the coming weeks, requests for documents regarding the C-IMAGE I closeout will be emailed to you. These requests will include financial information, unreported journal articles, and completed GRIIDC metadata and datasets. We appreciate your continued attention to meeting these deadlines as we sunset C-IMAGE I.

Please watch your inboxes for related emails.

Denver's Knox Facility Closing:
BP has notified us of their intent to eventually close the Knox Facility in Denver, CO. If you need, or anticipate needing, any material from this facility we recommend you make arrangements sooner than later. We  currently do not have  a specific timeline for closure of the oil storage facility, but it is in motion.

If samples are needed for research, please contact Sherryl Gilbert to help process your request.

2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference - Tampa, FL
1-4 February, 2016

Registration Deadlines (Registration Page):
Early Registration - 20 November, 2015
Online Registration - 24 January, 2016

All-Hands Scheduling:
We've created a survey to hear your opinion on scheduling the All Hands meeting in February. Click here  to access the survey.

Conference Calls:
Previous Calls
Task 2-High Pressure, Low Temperature
Michael Schlüter, Rudi Müller, Aprami Jaggi, Zach Aman- July 14, 2015

Reactors used in the high pressure experiments at TUHH. New Oxygen senors will allow researchers to accurately measure O2 at 140+ bar pressure.
High pressure experiments at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and University of Calgary continue to explore the process of oil spills at high pressures and low temperatures.

Recent experiments produced some remarkable results.  They are not published yet, but if you're a C-IMAGE research and you would like a copy of the call notes, please contact us. 

For complete call notes, visit the C-IMAGE webpage and login. If you need login information, please contact Ben Prueitt

Next C-IMAGE Call: Mid-October, 2015. More details to come. Field activities have pushed Task update calls to mid-October. Call planning will occur after the final summer expedition on 29 September. Contact Ben Prueitt or Sherryl Gilbert with any concerns or questions. 

GoMRI Outreach Call-18 August, 2015:
Highlighted C-IMAGE's Field Season schedule, three former Teachers at Sea presenting at the Florida Marine Science Educators Association conference, and new
C-IMAGE Spotlight  videos, available on YouTube.

Upcoming Events:
15 October, 2015 -
C-IMAGE II Quarter 3 Activity Reports Due
17 October, 2015
C-IMAGE I Final Quarterly Activity Report Due
2015 Summer Field Activity Updates
C-IMAGE researchers explored the southern Gulf of Mexico aboard the R/V Justo Sierra collecting sediment cores from the Ixtoc-I blowout of 1979. 
Ixtoc Cruise is an International Success
Researchers from seven institutions in Canada, United States, and Mexico completed the first of three C-IMAGE II research expeditions on 10 August, 2015.

Patrick Schwing, cruise  coordinator and co-chief scientist reflects on the importance and magnitude of the sediment cores collected.
"Our science party represented eight institutions and collected samples for a total of sixteen different laboratories from more than ten institutions.  Despite some initial delays (e.g. leaving Tuxpan 48 hours behind schedule due to equipment shipping delays) we were still able to retrieve water measurements, water samples, and sediment samples from 37 of our planned 50 sites.  This is in addition to deploying the instruments twice at five priority sites and only missing retrieval of sediments at one out of twenty priority sites," said Schwing.
Patrick Schwing,  Co-Chief Scientist, and researchers process a core sample in search for IXTOC oil.
Depths of the cores varied between 14 and 3,200 m depth and included several sampling sites within the Campeche exclusion zone.

Our blog kept track of the researchers as they studied the southern Gulf of Mexico, and you can read about their experiences in our C-IMAGE Blog. A photo gallery of all Ixtoc cruises are available View my photos on flickr.

Five Years of Mud & Blood
For the fifth consecutive summer C-IMAGE researchers are studying the impacts of oil and dispersants on sediments and fishes during the  Mud & Blood Expedition.  This year's cruise aboard the R/V Weatherbird  from 15-30 August 2015 covered 33 sampling sites and 1,685 nautical miles.

The 'Blood' crew caught several Yellowedge Groupers while sampling in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
While sampling fish, researchers collected samples of blood, bile, liver and muscle tissues. New to this years efforts was fin ray sampling for DNA analysis for genomics testing at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi/Harte Research Institute.  Fishing often went from dawn until dusk because of the large numbers caught at each site - sometimes several hundred. Scientists fished by day and cored by night.

Sediment cores were taken at each fishing location, brought on board, processed, extruded and stored in freezers for analysis back in the lab. A variety of analyses take place on a single core. Researchers study anaerobic conditions in sediments, carbon transfer, redox reactions, and stable isotopes. 

The 'Mud' crew retrieves the multicorer during sampling efforts.
The  Mud & Blood cruise sampled the same sites as previous years, adding to the already valuable time series to disentangle the impacts of the DwH on fishes and sediments.

The final leg of the 2015 Field Season begins 9 September, as the R/V Weatherbird travels to the southern Gulf of Mexico to collect fish samples in the Bay of Campeche to compare to those in the northern Gulf.

Other C-IMAGE Field work happening this summer
Aside from the three summer cruises C-IMAGE summer field operations includes (1) continued monitoring of artificial and natural habitat off the Texas coast with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and (2) using Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to study fish abundance with Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

The 'Rigs to Reefs' Program studies the production potential of artificial reefs off of the Texas coastline.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the Harte Research Institute sampled and surveyed fish populations using vertical longlines and fish traps, and SCUBA surveys and ROVs, respectively. Their goal is to determine how habitat type influences growth and reproduction in areas unaffected by DwH and compare their findings with regions impacted by oils.

Later this fall, Will Patterson and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will survey and sample fish abundance and diversity in Gulf waters south of Alabama. 
Fish PAH Exposure Studies Begin at Mote Aquaculture Park (MAP)
Nicole Rhody injects a Pompano fish with a mixture of crude oil and corn oil measuring the extreme effects of oil exposure.
Understanding the sublethal impact of oil spills on fish is one of the goals of our researchers through the development of the the exposure facility at Mote Aquaculture Park (MAP).

These studies are designed to test how three different species of marine fish respond to oil exposure through four pathways: ingestion, sediment contact, water contact, and direct injection. Researchers will measure changes in immune function, reproduction and DNA damage along with many other biological parameters.

To read the full article, click here.

The experiments are a collaboration  between MOTE Marine Laboratory, Wageningen University, University of West Florida, and USF-College of Marine Science.
Research Spotlight - Dr. Adolfo Gracia and Dr. Elva Escobar-Briones, UNAM
With the initiation of the second phase of C-IMAGE, research focus has shifted from oil spill response and immediate impacts to the state of the Gulf of Mexico looking ahead 30-40 years after the  Deepwater Horizon spill. To make these predictions, scientists are looking back at the Ixtoc-I spill (1979) in Campeche Bay, Mexico. We welcome the expertise of from the Universidad Nacional Aut ónoma de México, or UNAM, who is now a member institution.

UNAM brings experience with oil impacts on invertebrates and geochronology, as well as the use of their research vessel, the  R/V Justo Sierra.

Dr. Adolfo Gracia
Lead researchers from the UNAM-Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (ICML) joining C-IMAGE include Dr. Adolfo Gracia and Dr. Elva Escobar -Briones. Gracia has been studying contamination impacts on shrimp fis heries in the southern Gulf for over 30 years.  Escobar-Briones studies benthic communities in the southern Gulf and their role in the ecosystem. 

Dr. Elva Escobar-Briones
Understanding these benthic ecosystems are important in terms of recognizing  the  impacts of the  DWH spill because so much of the oil and dispersant has  ended up in sediments on the ocean floor. 

Other UNAM-ICML researchers joining the consortium are Dr. María Luisa Machain Castillo, Dr. Ana Carolina Ruiz Fernández, Dr. Joan Albert Sánchez Cabeza. 

Castillo studies  micropaleontology  and   paleooceanography.  Fernández studies  isotope geochemisty and isotopes in heavy metals and nutrients. Cabeza studies global climate change, and environmental geochemistry and geotracers.
C-IMAGE Students of the Month
August 2015
Shaojie Sun, PhD Student, University of South Florida-College of Marine Science

Shaojie Sun is a graduate student at the USF-College of Marine Science. Originally from China, he is working towards his PhD in Dr. Chuanmin Hu's  optical oceanography lab.
Sun's research "is focused on using satellite images to detect and quantify oil distributions during the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill." In other words, he looks at satellite images to see where the DWH surface oil went. He also has collaborated on a project deriving the surface oil trajectory of the IXTOC-I oil spill.
Shaojie Sun, an optical oceanography PhD student, in the field.
Shaojie Sun, an optical oceanography PhD student, in the field.
C-IMAGE II is using information gathered about the IXTOC-I spill, a nine month spill in the southern Gulf of Mexico in 1979, to predict the future impacts of the DWH spill. Sun's investigation is a critical component of that research. 

To read the full student of the month article on Shaojie, visit the blog post here.

September 2015
Nuttapol  Noirungsee, PhD Student, Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg
Nuttapol Noirungsee feels the pressure during his PhD research.

Nuttapol "Ice" Noirungsee studies biodegredation of methane and methane-oil mixtures at high pressure and low temperature as a PhD student at Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH). The name 'Ice' originally comes from his parents (a Thai tradition for given nicknames), but his colleagues from TUHH think it is for the German high speed rail, the
Inter C ity  E xpress, for his walking speed around the lab and campus.

His interest in oil science began through an undergraduate scholarship through Mahidol University where he traveled to met TUHH researchers Rudolf Müller and Ana Valladares Juárez. Keeping in touch with Müller and Gabriela, Nuttapol found an exotic project involving the biology and chemistry of petroleum-degrading bacteria.

"I was so thrilled that I will know how it feels when building a reactor and talking about oxidizing methane with a monooxygenase!" Nuttapol said. Over the past few years, Nuttapol's research has continued to progress and support the goals of TUHH and C-IMAGE.

Read his full Student of the Month blog, here.

Other Student News:
Kait Frasier defended her PhD at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Congratulations Kait!!
C-IMAGE: Reaching Out in the Community....
C-IMAGE Spotlight Videos
Our outreach team is releasing  short videos  highlighting individual 
C-IMAGE scientists. These include videos about Dr. John Gold, Dr. Chuanmin Hu, and more. Videos are all available on our  YouTube page .
Dr. John Gold-TAMUCC
Dr. John Gold-TAMUCC
Community outreach and education is something C-IMAGE continues to focus on throughout the RFP-IV. Consortium members look to continue to relay new found knowledge to the community.

Cruise Updates on Facebook and Twitter (Like us on Facebook & Follow us on Twitter)
A live ship tracking map was available on our website for the duration of the cruises.
July & August were busy months with two research cruises studying the northern and southern Gulf. Our outreach te am works  hard to keep Facebook, Twitter, and our blog followers up to date with th e busy field activities. Devon Firesinger, a Master's student from USF, sent a steady stream of videos and pictu res from the  R/V Justo Sierra , and PhD student Liz Herdter from the R/V Weatherbird. Their updates were shared on our social media site s. The cruises are was also tracked on our website. C-IMAGE thanks them for their time and effort keeping us all engaged.

Mind Open Media's David Levin joined the crew aboard the  Justo Sierra  to collect material for a new series of  The Loop podcasts, release date to be announced. Listen to our current podcasts  here .
David Levin scurries up the port side of the
R/V Justo Sierra to interview researchers and students during the cruise.

Recognizing Dr. Jeffery Chanton, A GU Fellow
Dr. Jeff Chanton, AGU Fellow
Dr. Jeffery Chanton from C-IMAGE, Deep-C, and ECOGIG was selected  as an  American Geophysical  Union Fellow. AGU recognizes individuals that have made remarkable contributions to the field of Earth and space studies. It is a rare and distinguished honor bestowed upon scientists by their peers. Dr. Chanton is a Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University's Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Science. 

With C-IMAGE, Chanton's research is focused on the distribution of of DWH oil within the Gulf's sediments and lower food web.
Wetz & Topping Present at Annual AFS Conference
Matthew Streich, Judson Curtis, Jennifer Wetz, and Tara Topping prepare presented at the 2015 American Fisheries Society Conference in Portland, OR.
Consortium members from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi recently returned from the 2015 American Fisheries Society Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon. 

Jennifer Wetz presented 
Artificial Reef Fish Community Structure along the Texas Shelf:  Potential Impacts of "Rigs-to-Reefs" Programs.

Tara Topping presented 
iSnapper: Improving private recreational data collection in the Gulf Red Snapper fishery using a smartphone application.
As research is published through the coming months, please remember to have this exact phrase in the Acknowledgements or a similar section:

"This research was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, C-IMAGE "
"This research was made possible in part by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, C-IMAGE, and in part by [other sources]."
The C-IMAGE II Consortium
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