Deepwater Horizon

Karthikeyan’s research uncovering a new oil-eating microbe wins top student award at Gulf oil spill conference

Pensacola Beach in the Florida Panhandle, one of the areas where oil washed ashore after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. (Photo Courtesy: Smruthi Karthikeyan)

Ph.D. student Smruthi Karthikeyan has returned from a gathering of scientists studying the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill with the top award for student research.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Studying how one beach’s microbes broke down the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill could help speed up the process next time

When oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill first began washing ashore on Pensacola Municipal Beach in June 2010, populations of sensitive microorganisms, including those that capture sunlight or fix nitrogen from the air, began to decline. At the same time, organisms able to digest light components of the oil began to multiply, starting the process of converting the pollutant to carbon dioxide and biomass.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
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