We propose adding four new field sites (two disturbed, two undisturbed) to our research project on the fate of buried Deep Water Horizon Oil buried in Gulf sandy beaches. So far, we have focused on sites near Pensacola Beach and St. George Island. In addition to sediment cores that we sample near Pensacola Beach we will retrieve cores from “cleaned” beaches at Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama. We will contrast the oil degradation in these cores with samples that we will retrieve from undisturbed beaches that were not affected by deep cleaning procedures. These additional sampling sites are located near Fort Pickens and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
Another set of samples will be collected at St. George Island that was not affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill. This sample set will be used as uncontaminated reference sediment. Sampling will take place between July and September, 2011, and the evaluation of the observations recorded during the sampling trips will take approximately two months. For these two months, we request support for ancillary work. In order to effectively sample and process the increased number of samples, three graduate students will participate in this effort for a period of 5 months.