Impacts of oil on Florida coastal habitats

July 22, 2015 – Temple Terrace, FLOil spill seminar - FL habitats - 1

This seminar was hosted by the Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team and the Southwest District of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. During the seminar scientists shared their work about the effects of oil on mangroves, wetlands, marshes, and beaches. The audience consisted of emergency responders, natural resource managers, environmental non-profit staff, as well as port and harbor employees.  Recordings of the speakers’ presentations as well as copies of their presentations are available below.


Oil spill seminar - FL habitats - 2
From left to right: Dr. Wilson (FL Sea Grant), Dr. Proffitt (FAU), Dr. Dalyander (USGS), Dr. McCoy (ECU), Timyn Rice (FDEP). Not pictured: Dr. Michel (RPI).


Sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone: Using science to aid Deepwater Horizon clean-up efforts

Dr. Soupy Dalyander is a research oceanographer with the U.S. Geological Survey at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center.  She studies sediment transport and geomorphological change on the beach, nearshore, and continental shelf. Dr. Dalyander talked about the physical dynamics of sand and oil agglomerates (essentially “sinking tarballs”), which can form when oil mixes with sediment in shallow water and are a potential source of beach re-oiling. Video available here. 

Degradation and resilience in Louisiana salt marshes after the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Dr. Mike McCoy is an assistant professor of ecology at East Carolina University. He is a quantitative ecologist that uses his research to address questions in conservations, population, and community ecology. He has ongoing research in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. Dr. McCoy shared his research about the specific impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Louisiana salt marshes and elevated erosion. Video available here.

Mangroves & oil spills

Dr. Ed Proffitt is a professor of biology at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.  He studies primarily the ecology of mangroves, salt marshes, and oyster reefs, specializing in projects involving disturbance, recovery, and restoration.  He also studies the genetic ecology of a number of species in these systems.  He was the lead scientist on a research project studying the ecology of Florida oysters, and genetics of oysters around the Gulf of Mexico, in the wake of the BP oil spill.  Dr. Proffitt shared his knowledge about the impacts of oil on mangroves. Video available here.


Dr. Jacqueline Michel is the President and one of the original founders of Research Planning, Inc. (RPI) in Columbia, SC. She is an internationally recognized expert in oil and hazardous materials spill planning and response with a primary focus in the areas of oil fates and effects, non-floating oils, shoreline cleanup, alternative response technologies, and natural resource damage assessment. She is part of the NOAA Assessment and Restoration Division’s Rapid Assessment Program and was the NOAA SCAT Coordinator for Louisiana during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Dr. Michel spoke about response options as well as oil recovery in marshes and what might be limiting recovery rates. Video available here.

Additional resources:

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