Investigating the effect of oil spills
on the environment and public health.
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Funding Source: Year One Block Grant - Florida Institute of Oceanography

Project Overview

Penetration, Accumulation and Degradation of BP DWH Oil in Florida Sandy Beaches

Principal Investigator
Florida State University
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science
Member Institutions
Eckerd College, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Chicago


Contamination of Florida sandy beaches by crude oil has severe environmental and economic consequences, i.e. buried oil releases toxic substances killing beach organisms and tourism alone has an economic impact of $57 billion.  This proposal addresses the fate of Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil and dispersants washed up on Florida sandy beaches. It is a collaboration between scientists at FSU and Eckerd College.

The primary goals of this research are to:

  1. Quantify the depth distribution of crude oil and dispersants in Florida beaches;
  2. Quantify oxygen consumption rates and inorganic carbon production rates in oil contaminated and clean beach sediments as indicator for oil degradation;
  3. Quantify oil-degrading microbial groups and determine the environmental controls of microbial oil degradation;
  4. Quantify vanadium and nickel concentrations in the beaches as degradation-insensitive tracers of BP DWH crude oil.

This research was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.