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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Robert K. Nelson

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Publications
»Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep-water coral community in the Gulf of Mexico
»Oil weathering after the Deepwater Horizon disaster led to the formation of oxygenated residues.
»Comparison of GC–MS, GC–MRM-MS, and GC × GC to characterise higher plant biomarkers in Tertiary oils and rock extracts
»The composition, origin and fate of complex mixtures in the maltene fractions of hydrothermal petroleum assessed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography
»Estimating Phospholipid Membrane–Water Partition Coefficients Using Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography
»Floating oil-covered debris from Deepwater Horizon: identification and application
»Composition and fate of gas and oil released to the water column during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
»Separation of 18α(H)-, 18β(H)-oleanane and lupane by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography
»Biodegradation preference for isomers of alkylated naphthalenes and benzothiophenes in marine sediment contaminated with crude oil.
»Analysis of petroleum compositional similarity using multiway principal components analysis (MPCA) with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatographic data.
»Analysis and Identification of Biomarkers and Origin of Color in a Bright Blue Crude Oil.
»The M/V Cosco Busan spill: Source Identification and short-term fate.
»Developing tools for risk assessment in protected species: Relative potencies inferred from competitive binding of halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons to aryl hydrocarbon receptors from beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and mouse.
»Compound class oil fingerprinting techniques using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC).
»Combining biomarker and bulk compositional gradient analysis to assess reservoir connectivity.
»Asphalt volcanoes as a potential source of methane to late Pleistocene coastal waters.
»Molecular and Isotopic Analysis of Motor Oil from a Biodiesel-Driven Vehicle.
»Weathering and the Fallout Plume of Heavy Oil from Strong Petroleum Seeps Near Coal Oil Point, CA. 
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Nanoaggregates of Asphaltenes in a Reservoir Crude Oil and Reservoir Connectivity.


»Disentangling oil weathering at a marine seep using GC×GC: Broad metabolic specificity accompanies subsurface petroleum biodegradation.
»Resolving the composition and formation of unresolved complex mixtures extracted from late Archean metasediments by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC). 
»Expanding the range of dehalogenated 1’-methyl-1,2’-bipyrroles (MBPs) using GC/ECNI-MS and GC×GC/TOF-MS. 
»Visible-near-infrared spectroscopy by downhole fluid analysis coupled with two dimensional gas chromatography to address oil reservoir complexity. 
»Compound Specific 81Br/79Br Analysis by Capillary Gas Chromatography Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (GC-MC-ICPMS).
»Molecular Evidence of Late Archean Archea and the Presence of a Subsurface Hydrothermal Biosphere
»Disentangling Oil Weathering Using GC×GC, Part II.  Mass Transfer Calculations
»Disentangling Oil Weathering Using GC×GC, Part I.  Chromatogram Analysis
»Biodegradation and Environmental Behavior of Biodiesel Mixtures in the Sea: An Initial Study
»Identification and Quantification of Alkene-based Drilling Fluids in Crude Oils by Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detection
»The 1974 Spill of the Bouchard 65 Oil Barge: Petroleum Hydrocarbons Persist in Winsor Cove Salt Marsh Sediments
»Climactically Driven Emissions of Hydrocarbons from Marine Sediments During Deglaciation
»Intrinsic Bacterial Biodegradation of Petroleum Contamination Demonstrated in situ Using Natural Abundance, Molecular-level 14C Analysis
»Tracking the Weathering of an Oil Spill with Comprehensive Two-dimensional Gas Chromatography
»Using Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography Retention Indices To Estimate Environmental Partitioning Properties for a Complete Set of Diesel Fuel Hydrocarbons


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White, H.K., Hsing, P-Y., Cho, W., Shank, T.M., Cordes, E.E., Quattrini, A.M., Nelson, R.K., Camilli, R., Demopoulos, A.W.J., German, C.R., Brooks, J.M., Roberts, H.H., Shedd, W., Reddy, C.M., Fisher, C.R., Impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on a deep-water coral community in the Gulf of Mexico, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Volume 109, Issue 50, 20303-20308

To assess the potential impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on offshore ecosystems, 11 sites hosting deep-water coral communities were examined 3 to 4 mo after the well was capped. Healthy coral communities were observed at all sites >20 km from the Macondo well, including seven sites previously visited in September 2009, where the corals and communities appeared unchanged. However, at one site 11 km southwest of the Macondo well, coral colonies presented widespread signs of stress, including varying degrees of tissue loss, sclerite enlargement, excess mucous production, bleached commensal ophiuroids, and covering by brown flocculent material (floc). On the basis of these criteria the level of impact to individual colonies was ranked from 0 (least impact) to 4 (greatest impact). Of the 43 corals imaged at that site, 46% exhibited evidence of impact on more than half of the colony, whereas nearly a quarter of all of the corals showed impact to >90% of the colony. Additionally, 53% of these corals’ ophiuroid associates displayed abnormal color and/or attachment posture. Analysis of hopanoid petroleum biomarkers isolated from the floc provides strong evidence that this material contained oil from the Macondo well. The presence of recently damaged and deceased corals beneath the path of a previously documented plume emanating from the Macondo well provides compelling evidence that the oil impacted deep-water ecosystems. Our findings underscore the unprecedented nature of the spill in terms of its magnitude, release at depth, and impact to deep-water ecosystems.

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