The recent ECOGIG dives focused on examining the continuing effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on corals in the Gulf of Mexico. Using a combination of sampling and high resolution imagery (taken with a specially adapted camera called BEAST CAM), scientists are analyzing growth rates and chemical impacts on the corals from both the oil and dispersants used to combat the oil spill. The same corals are imaged every year.
The ECOGIG group, funded as a part of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), is looking at both natural oil and gas seepage into the Gulf of Mexico and ecosystem responses and effects directly attributable to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. On this cruise, we will focus on deep-sea corals, their associated communities, and their response to the oil spill. We will also be collecting corals for laboratory experiments and for analyses of coral and microbe response to natural oil seepage.