PORT ARANSAS, TX – Even though Texas wasn’t as severely affected by the Deep Water Horizon blow out and oil spill as other Gulf states, Texas resource managers are preparing for the next major disaster. On Tuesday, April 14th resource managers, researchers and emergency responders came together to learn about the latest oil spill research findings. Researchers from The University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) and from Texas A&M University-Galveston (TAMUG) shared some of their latest research about how oil and dispersants react with the environment.
Research consortia such as DROPPS (based at UTMSI) and ADDOMEx (based at TAMUG) are funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, and researchers have been studying the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. DROPPS researchers are examining the breakup of oil as well as the interactions of different planktonic and microbial species with oil. Similarly, ADDOMEx scientists focus on the role that exopolymers might play in the fate of oil and dispersants in the environment. The information gathered from this research will help predict the overall impact of oil spills, which resource managers and emergency responders can use to protect people and the environment.
The workshop was designed to discuss oil spill science as well as bridge the gaps in knowledge, partnership, and communication between researchers, natural resource managers, and emergency responders. Representatives from emergency response teams, such as the Texas General Land Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Coast Guard were on site to discuss response techniques and plans. There were also facilitated discussions to discuss the necessary protocols between researchers and responders, identify future research priorities, and encourage communication and partnerships between researchers and response teams.
This Bridging the Gap Between Oil Spill Researchers and Responders workshop was hosted by The University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program.