Tag Archives: oil spill

Scientists Train the Next Generation on Oil Spill Research

As part of on-going research nearly four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will team up with a group of high school students in Florida to collect remnants of oil from Gulf Coast beaches this week.

Marine chemist Chris Reddy studies how the many compounds that compose petroleum hydrocarbon, or oil, behave and change over time after an oil spill. He and his researchers have collected and analyzed about 1,000 oil samples from the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (more…)

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25 Years after the Exxon Valdez, Sea Otter Population at Pre-Spill Levels

ANCHORAGE — Nearly 25 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill injured wildlife off the coast of Alaska, a new report issued today by the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that sea otters have returned to pre-spill numbers within the most heavily oiled areas of Prince William Sound.

Sea otters in the path of the oil incurred heavy mortality when 42 million liters of Prudhoe Bay crude oil were spilled in Prince William Sound in March 1989, with an estimated loss of several thousand otters. Through long-term data collection and analysis, scientists found that sea otters were slow to recover, likely because of chronic exposure to lingering oil. Other studies documented persistence of oil in the sea otter’s intertidal feeding habitats.  (more…)

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New Tool Available to Help Track Spilled Oil

Computer model can help with current, future clean-up efforts

St. Petersburg, Fla. – A newly developed computer model holds the promise of helping scientists track and predict where oil will go after a spill, sometimes years later.  U.S. Geological Survey scientists developed the model as a way of tracking the movement of sand and oil found along the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The new tool can help guide clean-up efforts, and be used to aid the response to future oil spills.  (more…)

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UA Sociologist Studies Resiliency in Communities Devastated by Hurricane Sandy

Sociology professor Brian Mayer’s research is part of an $8 million Health and Human Services project focused on long-term recovery.

The disastrous flooding Hurricane Sandy brought to Maryland’s coastal communities left a long road to recovery.

An expert in how communities rebound from large-scale disasters, University of Arizona sociology professor Brian Mayer is working to model the relationship between the resiliency of communities and individuals. (more…)

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Speaking of Ethics

Lecturer explores the imperatives of environmental ethics

Speaking to University of Delaware faculty and students and community members in Brown Lab on Monday night, Oct. 15, environmental philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore discussed how important it is for humans to realize their ethical responsibility to save the world from a climate crisis.

In a lecture titled “Why It’s Wrong to Wreck the World: Climate Change and the Moral Obligation to the Future,” Moore reflected on the relationship humans have with the environment and argued that once humans realize the impact of their actions, they will naturally feel a moral obligation to care for the planet. (more…)

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Oil Spill Cleanup: Smart Filter Can Strain Oil Out of Water

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— A smart filter with a shape-shifting surface can separate oil and water using gravity alone, an advancement that could be useful in cleaning up environmental oil spills, among other applications, say its University of Michigan developers.

The system could provide a more efficient way to remove crude oil from waterways without using additional chemical detergents, or even after detergents have been added, said Anish Tuteja, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering. Tuteja is the corresponding author of a paper on the research published in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature Communications.

The researchers created a filter coating that repels oil but attracts water, bucking conventional materials’ properties. Most natural substances soak up oil, and the few that repel it also repel water because water has a higher surface tension. (more…)

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Going with the Flow

Scientists studying ocean currents and oil spills with large-scale experiment

Scientists are releasing hundreds of floating GPS devices into the Gulf of Mexico this week near the Deepwater Horizon site to study the role of ocean currents in oil spills. The experiment is the largest in scale of its kind, deploying 300 satellite-tracked, untethered buoys, called drifters, over the course of two and a half weeks.

“We’re trying to use the drifters as a simulation of an oil spill,” said Dennis Kirwan, Mary A.S. Lighthipe Professor of Marine Studies in the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “This is a big event in oceanography.” (more…)

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill’s Effects on Deep-Water Corals

*Damaged deep-sea corals discovered months after Deepwater Horizon spill*

Scientists are reporting new evidence that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has affected marine life in the Gulf of Mexico, this time species that live in dark ocean depths–deepwater corals.

The research used a range of underwater vehicles, including the submarine Alvin, to investigate the corals. The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (more…)

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