Exploring Oil Spill Impacts in the Deep Gulf of Mexico

December 8, 2015 – Corpus Christi, TX

Scientists presented published work about deep sea dispersant use, the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on both deep sea corals and mesophotic corals, and on the benthic footprint from Deepwater Horizon. Presenters also spoke about the technology involved in deep sea response and about the monitoring of natural resources in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

Speakers included:

Dispersant Use at Wellhead; Modeling Scenarios
Dr. Scott Socolofsky
is Professor of Civil Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station.  His research area is broadly focused on environmental fluid mechanics and the fate and transport of multiphase plumes.  He has recently served as Chief Scientist of the Gulf Integrated Spill Research (GISR) Consortium funded by the B/P Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI).  He is also a member of the modeling team for the Center for Integrated Modeling and Assessment of the Gulf Ecosystem (C-IMAGE I and II), also funded by GoMRI.  He spoke about modelling the different scenarios in using dispersants for oil spill response.  Click here for the PDF of his slides.

Footprint of the DWH Oil in the Gulf: Soft Sediment Faunal Impact
Dr. Paul Montagna
was named the Endowed Chair for Ecosystem Studies and Modeling at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2006.  He has broad expertise in marine ecosystems having worked on all trophic levels and all aquatic systems.  Currently, he is leading the technical assessment of the effects of the Deepwater Horizon blowout on deep-sea soft-bottom benthos communities as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) program.   He spoke about the footprint of Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Oiling the Pinnacle Trend
Dr. Ian R. MacDonald is Professor of Oceanography in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science at Florida State University.  MacDonald is an internationally recognized authority on the biology and geology of marine oil seeps with over 70 peer-reviewed articles and over 60 reports and popular articles on related topics.  MacDonald’s research has entailed extensive use of such deep-diving submarines.  His particular interest is the application of imaging technology, satellite remote sensing, and in-situ instrumentation to marine research.  During the BP oil spill of 2010, MacDonald achieved wide national media attention for his early assertion, ultimately confirmed, that the rate of discharge was at least six-fold higher than the official estimates.  His talk covered the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacts to mesophotic corals.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
G.P. Schmahl
has been the manager of Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary since March 1999. Prior to that he served for eight years as the Lower Keys Regional Manager of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Key West, Florida. As sanctuary manager, he is involved with a broad array of Marine Protected Area management issues including research, education and resource protection. Since obtaining a graduate degree in Zoology from the University of Georgia, G.P. has held a variety of positions relating to marine research, coastal management, resource planning and environmental regulation. His primary interest is the ecology and management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems, and he has a specific interest and expertise in the biology and ecology of marine sponges.  He shared the monitoring and oil spill response efforts of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary staff.  Click here to view a PDF of his presentation slides.

Seminar materials: 

  • View the agenda here.