WHOI researchers are making major contributions to efforts to monitor and characterize effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In June, WHOI researchers took a direct sample of the petroleum mixture venting from the blowout preventer to determine its composition before it entered the ocean. To capture the sample they used a specialized high-pressure sampler from geochemist and Chair of the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department, Jeff Seewald, which was designed to collect fluid at deep-sea hydrothermal vents. U.S.Coast Guard Lt. Jarett Parker quickly transported the sample from the WHOI collection team that took the sample at the site—Chris Reddy, Rich Camilli, and Sean Sylva—to the analysis team—Reddy, Seewald, and Bob Nelson. Back in the lab at WHOI, Lt. Parker (left) handed the sample over to Nelson.
(Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)