2015 Expedition
Deep sea corals


April 23 – May 4, 2015
Lead Scientist
Expedition Leader

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. To do so, we will re-image as many as possible of the same corals that we have been following over the last 4 years and collect corals for laboratory experiments and for analyses of coral and microbe response to natural seepage. Our plan is to return to a number of sites where we have documented impacts of the oil spill to deep-sea corals and continue our monitoring of these sites. The 2015 ECOGIG cruise is a continuation of a 3-year partnership with OET to study the ecosystem-level response to oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. This is part of a larger research program by a group called the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs into the Gulf of Mexico (ECOGIG) Consortium, which is made up of scientists from a wide variety of disciplines studying current flow, ocean chemistry, microbial activity, deep-sea coral communities, and everything in between.

Meet the Team

Selected Publications


Osman, E.O., Vohsen, S.A., Girard, F., Cruz, R., Glickman, O., Bullock, L.M., Anderson, K.E., Weinnig, A.M., Cordes, E.E., Fisher, C.R., Baums, I.B. (2023). Capacity of deep-sea corals to obtain nutrition from cold seeps aligned with microbiome reorganization. Global Change Biology 29 (1): 189-205. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.16447


Girard, F., Fisher, C. (2018). Long-term impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea corals detected after seven years of monitoring. Biological Conservation 225: 117-`127.
Girard, F., Shea, K., Fisher, C. (2018). Projecting the recovery of a long‐lived deep‐sea coral species after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill using state‐structured models. Journal of Applied Ecology 55(4): 1812-1822.


DeLeo, D., Ruiz-Ramos, D., Baums, I., Cordes, E. (2016). Response of deep-water corals to oil and chemical dispersant exposure.. Deep-Sea Research Part II-Topical Studies in Oceanography 129: 137-147.