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Biology Projects

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Imaging & Sampling Deep-water HabitatsAlvin and Sentry explore the deep Gulf
Deepwater Horizon, 2010
Principal Investigator: Tim Shank
In December 2010, R/V Atlantis carried the submersible Alvin and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry to the Gulf of Mexico to help scientists examine deep-sea habitats near the source of the oil spill. Use of the two vehicles in tandem to identify and target sites of interest on the seafloor represented a first for deep-water exploration.

Deep-water Coral and Cold Seep CommunitiesCollecting Deep-sea Sediment Flux
Deepwater Horizon, 2010
Principal Investigator: Chris German
In 2009, a group of researchers studying deep-water animals and habitats in the Gulf of Mexico set out two instruments to collect samples of the carbon-rich debris that rains down from above and that serves as food for many of the animals that live on the bottom. Both were scheduled to take their final sample on July 2 so WHOI researchers quickly mobilized to place new instruments on the seafloor and extend their record of conditions in the Gulf.

Imaging Oil Droplets & PlanktonFrom Plankton to Oil Droplets
Deepwater Horizon, 2010
Principal Investigator: Cabell Davis, Nick Loomis
WHOI scientists deployed a specially designed camera system to identify and measure the tiny plants and animals that live in the open ocean. At the same time, they discovered that their instruments are also well suited for measuring the size and distribution of oil droplets in the water column. -This information is important to model the oil plume more accurately.

Biological responses to oil and dispersantBiological Responses to Oil and Dispersant
Deepwater Horizon, 2010
Principal Investigator: Ann Tarrant
Based on a long history of work with the starlet anemone (Nematostella vectensis), scientists from WHOI and elsewhere have begun watching for and modeling genetic and physiological responses in the organism to the oil and the dispersants used to fight the spill.

Dead Zones and Microbial Response to Oil Dead Zones and Microbial Response to Oil
Deepwater Horizon, 2010
Principal Investigator: Ben Van Mooy
Water samples from the Gulf are helping scientists understand how different microbes in the ocean respond to oil spills. They found that although oil-eating microbes were limited by a lack of phosphorous in the water, they were able to consume oil at a much higher rate than expected.


Last updated: July 28, 2014
 


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