Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Elizabeth B. Kujawinski

» Microbial metabolites in DOM

» DOM in the deep Atlantic Ocean

» Polar Petroleum & dispersants in Gulf oil spill

» Carbon cycle of Greenland Ice Sheet

» Heterotrophy, photochemistry & DOM

» FT-ICR MS in chemical oceanography

» Marine DOM: Microbial Influences

» Protozoa in subterranean estuaries

» Photochemical modifications of DOM

Identification and characterization of polar petroleum, dispersant and metabolite constituents of organic matter in Gulf of Mexico oil spill

David L. Valentine (UCSB); Chris Reddy (WHOI); Helen White (Haverford College)

The oil spill resulting from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig has released an unprecedented amount of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil is entering the sea from the bottom and either settles into a neutrally-buoyant subsurface layer or transits to the surface. During expulsion from the primary leak, transport and weathering, water-soluble components of the crude oil are slowly dissolving into the seawater. The composition and reactivity of these components are poorly constrained but are critically important to predicting the possible impact of this spill on marine life and ecosystem dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico. We propose to use ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to assess the composition of the water-soluble component of the leaking crude oil. The proposed work will provide an initial assessment of compositional variability along temporal and spatial gradients near the active spill. Our capabilities complement other planned analyses and our results will be integrated with other chemical and biological data to provide a more complete analysis of the weathering and degradation of this oil spill.

Funding: Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (2012-14); National Science Foundation Chemical Oceanography Program (RAPID-OCE-1045811, RAPID-OCE-1058448)

Personnel: Liz Kujawinski (PI), Melissa Kido Soule (method development), Krista Longnecker (data analysis), Angela Boysen (summer student 2010)


Ryerson, T. B., R. Camilli, J. D. Kessler, E. B. Kujawinski, C. M. Reddy, D. L. Valentine, E. L. Atlas, D. R. Blake, J. A. de Gouw, S. Meinardi, D. D. Parrish, J. Peischl, J. S. Seewald and C. Warneke. 2012. Chemical composition measurements quantify Deepwater Horizon hydrocarbons in the marine environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. (online Jan 9)

Kujawinski E. B., M. C. Kido Soule, D. L. Valentine, A. K. Boysen, K. Longnecker, and M. C. Redmond, Fate of dispersants associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Environmental Science & Technology, 45: 1298-1306. 2011

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