Novel application of laboratory instrumentation characterizes mass settling dynamics of oil-mineral aggregates (OMAs) and oil-mineral-microbial interactions
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© 2018, Marine Technology Society Inc. All rights reserved. It is reasonable to assume that microbes played an important role in determining the eventual fate of oil spilled during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, given that microbial activities in the Gulf of Mexico are significant and diverse. However, critical gaps exist in our knowledge of how microbes influence the biodegradation and accumulation of petroleum in the water column and in marine sediments of the deep ocean and the shelf. Ultimately, this limited understanding impedes the ability to forecast the fate of future oil spills, specifically the capacity of numerical models to simulate the transport and fate of petroleum under a variety of conditions and regimes. By synthesizing recentmodel developments and results fromfield- and laboratorybased microbial studies, the Consortium for Simulation of Oil-Microbial Interactions in the Ocean (CSOMIO) investigates (a) how microbial biodegradation influences accumulation of petroleum in the water column and in marine sediments and (b) how biodegradation can be influenced by environmental conditions and impact forecasts of potential future oil spills.
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