Oil Spill Science Seminar: Technology and Deepwater Horizon


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August 30, 2016 – Miami, FL 

View the flyer HERE. View the agenda HERE.

From ‘fish treadmills’ to remote sensing, this seminar gave a glimpse of the technologies  either used during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill or resulting from it. Attendees toured  some of the laboratories doing this research as part of the program.

Heather BrackenGrissom, Ph.D.

Heather is an Assistant Professor at Florida International University in the Marine Sciences Program, where she has a molecular evolution research lab and teaches Invertebrate Zoology and Genetics.  As part of the GoMRI-funded consortia, DEEPEND, she leads the crustacean and cephalopod genetic components.

Heather shared with us about new and emergent molecular techniques used to study how organisms respond to stresses in the environment, as well as discussing the work of DEEPEND as a whole.

View video of the presentation HERE.

Brian Haus, Ph.D.

Brian described surface layer transport is of primary importance for oil spill response planning and explained the development of innovative approaches to surface drifter technologies as deployed during the CARTHE consortium GLAD and LASER experiments. This critical link between fundamental laboratory studies and full-scale experimentation was explored.

 View video of the presentation HERE.

 Vernon Asper, Ph.D.

Vernon is a Professor of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he has accumulated roughly 3 full years out at sea. He was a member of the very first scientific team to visit the site and was the first to document the existence of the submerged (1000m) plume of oil. He is a member of the GoMRI-funded consortia, ECOGIG.

Vernon explained methods used to look for oil in situ and also marine snow and oil.

View video of the presentation HERE.

Ian MacDonald, Ph.D.

Ian is a professor of oceanography at Florida State University with 30 years of experience with natural oil seeps and oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico. He was part of the foundational work on natural seeps in the Gulf as the discoverer of the Bush Hill natural seep, Brine Pool NR-1, and the asphalt volcanoes of the southern Gulf of Mexico. He is a member of the GoMRI-funded consortia, ECOGIG.

Ian gave an account of how surface oil is tracked – specifically, technologies and techniques can be used to quantify oil spill and assess their impact. This included a discussion of satellite remote sensing, drones, and data integration.

 View video of the presentation HERE.

 Martin Grosell, Ph.D.


Martin is a Maytag professor of ichthyology with specialty in environmental physiology and toxicology at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS) in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology. He is also the lead PI and director of the GoMRI-funded consortia, RECOVER.

Martin shared information on how we can determine the energy available for vital activities such as prey capture, predator avoidance, migration and spawning as well as overall sustained swimming performance can be determined in pelagic fish.

View video of the presentation HERE.

Question and Answer Panel

Attendees had the opportunity to ask Martin Grosell, Ian MacDonald, and Vernon Asper (right) general questions about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and specific questions about their work.

Listen to a recording of that session HERE.


In-person attendees were given tours of the SUSTAIN and Environmental Physiology & Toxicology Labs as well as the Experimental Hatchery. Both are located at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of marine & Atmospheric Science.