We will integrate 3 lines of evidence derived from parasitology (PI Bullard), microbiology (Co-PI Arias), and toxicology (Co-PI Unger) towards continued tracking of the physical fate (GRI Themes I & II) and environmental effects (GRI Theme III) of DHOS oil within a heavily-oiled Gulf of Mexico salt marsh: Barataria Bay (29.3617ºN; 89.8987ºW), 170 km NW of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. RFP-III funds will allow for continued synergistic collections of a sentinel marsh vertebrate (Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis) and its symbionts (parasites and bacteria) and allow for sympatric sediment sampling from the 8 already-established reference sites (4 oiled + 4 non-oiled) in Barataria Bay. PI Bullard has intimate local knowledge of this system– having worked in Barataria Bay since it was first oiled.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries personnel have pledged continued logistical support for this continuing project’s field operations (see Letter of Commitment from Mr. Myron Fischer, Director, Grand Isle Fisheries Research Laboratory, LDWF). RFP-III funds would serve as a continuation of NSF funds to document oil effects in Barataria Bay and complement GRI funds for laboratory studies on fish physiologic stress responses to crude oil.