OR&R Scientists Attend Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Synthesis Workshop
JULY 1, 2019 — The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) was established in 2010 with the stated goal to improve society’s ability to understand, respond to, and mitigate the impacts of petroleum pollution and related stressors of the marine and coastal ecosystems. As the conclusion of 10 years of GoMRI’s investment in research approaches, the research board has shifted focus toward achieving comprehensive scientific synthesis. Through a series of workshops and subsequent publications, special issues, and presentations, GoMRI expects to be able to answer the five key questions across each of eight identified core areas at the conclusion of the initiative.
As part of this initiative, chemist Dalina Thrift-Viveros and oceanographer Christopher Barker with OR&R's Emergency Response Division participated in a workshop on the "Fate of Oil and Weathering: Biological & Physical-chemical Degradation" in Washington, D.C. This multi-day workshop examined the synthesis of a number of individual process, including: analytical chemistry, use of genomics and proteomics, use of molecular biology tools to ascertain and measure response of marine organisms other than microbes, physical fate and natural processes, photo-chemical reactions at sea and on the shoreline, microbial degradation in all sectors of the ecosystem, and Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA).
The workshop brought together GOMRI-funded researchers and representatives from the response community, including partners in government and industry. Information was shared about what has been learned about the fate of the oil released during the Deepwater Horizon spill, and how that new knowledge might be applied to understanding and responding to oil spills in the future.