Oil in the aquatic environment: Sources, fate, effects, monitoring, and response options

The following modules are a three-part series on oil spill science. These modules were originally developed for and shared at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America/World Congress meeting in Orlando, FL in 2016 but adapted for the web by the module instructors and the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program.

Introduction to the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program

Emily Maung-Douglass of Louisiana Sea Grant provides an explanation of the Sea Grant’s partnership with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to share oil spill science.

Module 1: Introduction to Crude Oil and Petroleum Substances

Objective: This presentation provides a brief overview of origin, chemical composition, nomenclature and sources of oil to the environment.
Thomas Parkerton, Ph.D.
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Module 2: Overview of Oil Fate Transfer and Transformation Processes

Objective: This module is about oil fate processes in the ocean water column.  It discusses oil properties, droplet size distribution models, the chemical processes of hydrate formation and dissolution, and the biological process of biodegradation.  The presentation takes examples from the Deepwater Horizon and explains the main compartments of oil fate in the oceans.
Instructor: Scott Socolofsky, Ph.D.
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Module 3: Oil Spill Management and Response Options

Objective: This module will provide an overview of the oil spill response decision making process.  A summary of the tools used for oil spill response and for spill monitoring.  And a description of resources at risk and potential impacts from oil spills.
Instructor: Tim Nedwed, Ph.D.
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About our presenters

Environmental Science Advisor, ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences Inc 

Dr. Parkerton holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Rutgers University and M.S. degrees in Aquatic Toxicology and Environmental Engineering from North Texas State University and Manhattan College, respectively.  He received a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Rutgers University.  Dr. Parkerton has 30 years of experience in the development and application of models to predict the fate, bioaccumulation, trophic transfer and toxicological effects of petroleum related substances entering the environment. In this current role, Dr. Parkerton is providing technical support to global businesses on strategic environmental issues relevant to risk evaluation of ExxonMobil products and operations.

ScottSocolofskyScott Socolofsky, Ph.D.
Professor, Texas A&M University

Dr. Socolofsky is professor of Civil Engineering with joint appointments in Oceanography and Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.  Dr. Socolofsky earned a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1994 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1997 and 2001.  His research area is in environmental fluid mechanics, with applications in multiphase flow, coastal mixing, and accidental deep ocean oil well blowouts.

TimNedwedTim Nedwed, Ph.D.
Oil Spill Response Senior Technical Professional, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company

Dr. Nedwed has worked for ExxonMobil for 19 years and has led the oil spill response research program for the last 12 years.  Dr. Nedwed’s primary expertise is on oil spill response technologies with a focus on dispersants, in situ burning, remote detection of oil, and oil spill fate and effects.  He has developed new dispersant technologies, a method for detecting oil trapped under ice, and new methods for applying in situ burning.  Currently, Dr. Nedwed is developing a new method of oil spill response that could be a step-change advance.  Also, he is working on two new technologies for oil spill prevention that could eliminate the potential for blowouts to occur.  The achievements of Dr. Nedwed were recognized by ExxonMobil’s Upstream Research Company when he received the 2010 ICE award for outstanding innovation and creativity.  In addition, Dr. Nedwed received the prestigious 2013 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award for Technology Innovation given by the Texas chapter of the National Academies of Medicine, Science, and Engineering.