“When we analyzed several other Low Sulfur Fuel Oils, we found some contained higher concentrations of toxic components than the oil discharged in the Mauritius spill, so more research will be needed before we can conclude that all the oil types within this new class pose less of a threat to marine ecosystems than heavy fuel oils.”
It turns out the business of solving who may have dumped something bad into the ocean in two recent local incidents is much like solving any big crime – it takes good detective work.
Viviane Menezes, a marine scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, has described the Red Sea as being like a “big lagoon” with “everything connected.” An oil spill at any time of year would be disastrous, she says, but seasonally variable weather and tidal patterns make contingency planning difficult. In the summer, Red Sea currents would drag an oil slick south, threatening Eritrea and Djibouti, and potentially entering the Gulf of Aden. In winter, circular currents would swirl more of the oil north.
WHOI worked with the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday on how deploying the robot would work and to test retrieving it with a helicopter.
John Incardona, NOAA Sponsored by: Biology Department This will be held virtually. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85981238770 Meeting ID: 859 8123…Read More
Hydrocarbons and petroleum are almost synonymous in environmental science. After all, oil reserves account for nearly all the hydrocarbons we encounter. But the few hydrocarbons that trace their origin to biological sources may play a larger ecological role than scientists originally suspected.
So until now (four months later), there has been no detailed oil fingerprinting conducted aside from a ten day old sample that some of the world’s leading oil spill scientists at U.S.-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution had conducted.
This chemical signature also reveals what would happen if that oil was ever leaked into the natural environment or made contact with humans. A process known as Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) is what is used, as the U.S. laboratory WHOI is internationally renowned for.
The health of the world’s ocean is in serious decline—and human health is suffering as a result. A comprehensive report from the Monaco Commission and co-authored by several WHOI researchers investigates the impacts of ocean pollution and recommends actions to safeguard human health.Read More
Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said the first ultra-high-resolution analysis of an oil sample from the Mauritius spill revealed the substance to be “a complex and unusual mix of hydrocarbons.”
When the Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio struck a coral reef off the coast of Mauritius on July 25, 2020, and began leaking fuel oil two weeks later, local residents and the international community sprang into action to protect the pristine habitats that fringe the Indian Ocean nation.Read More
All existing tests on the efficacy of dispersants had been conducted on the surface of water, says Elizabeth Kujawinski, a chemical oceanographer at WHOI. There was no guarantee that they would perform the same way in the crushing depths of the ocean.
Opinion piece written by WHOI chemist and oil spill expert Chris Reddy
The task at hand is to keep a bad situation from getting worse, said Christopher M. Reddy, a marine scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “We have a problem, it has a potential for harm, so how do we do it to create the least amount of damage?” he said.
In the middle of a battle like an oil spill, you want to have a very predictable material that is easily deployed and creates no uncertainty, says Chris Reddy, at WHOI. And these natural products carry just a lot more uncertainty. Despite this uncertainty, he says, maybe hair can teach us how to make better materials. And Georgia Tech’s David Hu says the study made him look at hair differently.
Matt Charette, WHOI & Chris Reddy, WHOI Sponsored by: MC&G Department This will be held virtually over Webex. Event address…Read More