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The 'Dirty Bathtub' Effect

Over 168,000 gallons of intermediate fuel oil were released into Galveston Bay on March 22, 2014, when a collision occured in the bay's shipping lane. Over 200 miles of Texas coastline were impacted, including the Matagorda Wildlife Sanctuary Oil and these shoreline grasses on Galveston Island. Working with the Deep-C Consortium, WHOI researchers Bob Nelson and Bob Swarthout quickly mobilized to collect samples from the affected areas. Back in the lab at WHOI, the samples are undergoing chemical analysis to "fingerprint" their origin. Building a long-term data set from spill sites such as Galveston Bay helps researchers understand the fate of oil in the ocean—information that can help protect coastlines in the event of future oil spills. (Photo courtesy of Robert Nelson, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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