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Science That Makes Us Better Prepared for the Next Spill: Ocean Flows and Oil Transport

May 28, 2020

The first in a series featuring GoMRI-funded oil spill studies

April 2020 marked the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon incident and the tragic loss experienced by the families of the 11 people who died. Affected coastal communities continue to deal with overlapping stressors (economic downturns, hurricanes, harmful algal blooms), and marine life (such as dolphins and deep-sea corals) and coastal wetlands grapple with lingering impacts.

A silver lining from this tragedy is the advancement of science stemming from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), an independent ten-year research program established with BP funds during Deepwater Horizon. GoMRI has sought to understand the spill’s impacts and provide research that contributes to improved future response and mitigation of oil spills through the funding of 269 projects that involved more than 4,000 people, including 1,114 scientists, 366 post-doctoral researchers, and 1,194 graduate students.

To-date, there are 1,400 publications (and counting) in peer-reviewed journals stemming from GoMRI-funded projects that address five themes related to the oil spill’s fate and impacts: Physical Ocean Processes, Chemical Evolution and Biological Degradation, Environmental Effects, Technology Developments, and Public Health.

Here are highlights from selected GoMRI-funded peer-reviewed publications related to advancements in knowledge about physical ocean processes that affect how an oil spill moves.

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