The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill presented researchers with an opportunity to employ a variety of approaches to quantify and model the microbial community composition and activity through successive metabolic petroleum hydrocarbon degradation. The Macondo wellhead oil leak, in the Gulf of Mexico, released a complex mixture of hydrocarbons into the water column that stimulated the growth, metabolic activity, and succession of a diverse, yet distinct, hydrocarbon-degrading microbial community. These samples range from the earliest collection dates in the wellhead area just weeks after the explosion, to the most recent acquisitions collected from the seafloor one nautical mile south of the now-capped Macondo wellhead seven months after the oil spill. The natural microbial community found in the seabed and water column plays a critical role in alleviating the consequences of oil spills.
Proposer’s Name: Andreas Teske