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