Although most of the media has now forgotten about that oil spill thing that happened last year, I’m consistently impressed by strength of ongoing citizen science projects in the Gulf of Mexico. I met Michael Sturdivant by chance last year while I was collecting samples along the Florida panhandle. Michael is heavily involved with the Surfrider Foundation (Emerald Coast Chapter), and this group has really been fighting tooth and claw to document the lasting impacts of oil on their gorgeous white sand beaches. Lately the group has been conducting nighttime beach stakeouts with UV lights, demonstrating the oil is still very much present along the Florida shoreline. Here’s an informative video from geologist Rip Kirby (USF) explaining how UV detection works:
The Surfrider group has also diligently been collecting samples for long-term monitoring and ‘fingerprinting’ an oil signature to confirm origin from the Macondo well. They’ve been working hard to get funding from various organizations (when I met Michael in September they were doing this all on their own dime), and Patagonia has recently donated $25,000 to support their sediment testing work. I urge blog readers to keep following the Surfrider Foundation’s projects (their Facebook page is very informative and current), and pass the word about their hard work in the Gulf. I heart citizen science!