delware environmental institute

Gulf of Mexico topography played key role in bacterial consumption of Deepwater Horizon spill

Gulf of Mexico topography played key role in bacterial consumption of Deepwater Horizon spill

Scientists document how geology, biology worked together after oil disaster

When scientist David Valentine and colleagues published results of a study in early 2011 reporting that bacterial blooms had consumed almost all the deepwater methane plumes after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill, some were skeptical. How, they asked the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) geochemist, could almost all the gas emitted disappear?

In new results published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Valentine; Igor Mezic, a mechanical engineer at UCSB; and coauthors report that they used an innovative computer model to demonstrate the respective roles of underwater topography, currents and bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico.