Ocean Science and Engineering Presents, Dr. Samantha "Mandy" Joye, University of Georgia
Sea Change: Altered Microbial Dynamics Following the Macondo Oil Well Blowout
Microbial communities possess a tremendous capacity to respond to environmental perturbations. The Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in 2010 represented a unprecedented perturbation to the offshore ocean system in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.
One of the response measured employed in the wake of Deepwater Horizon was application of chemical dispersants to break up oil and make that oil more prone to biodegradation. Whether this strategy works remains a subject of intense debate. We tracked the response of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria in field samples and in laboratory experiments and found that dispersants may have actually impeded hydrocarbon oxidation.
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