Citizen Science to track lingering oil in the Gulf

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:

More UV videos from the group have been posted here and also here on Facebook.

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!

UV light

UV testing on Florida Beaches, Image from Surfrider Foundation's website

 

Holly Bik (141 Posts)

I am a computational biologist at the University of California, Davis. My research uses DNA sequencing and genomics to study microbial eukaryotes (yeah, nematodes!) in marine ecosystems, with an emphasis on evolution and biodiversity in the deep-sea. I can neither confirm nor deny that I like Unix more than I like going to sea.





4 comments on “Citizen Science to track lingering oil in the Gulf
  1. Unfortunately, I see that the links you have provided for FB are not working. People are persistent, we need to be able to have clear resolution for all.

  2. Thanks for the post Holly. Try the links again, we have changed a couple of security settings. Working on the site this evening, we hope to host the media on our own server real soon. This may be a good spot to remind folks that we are “just a bunch of surfers” doing the best we can with what we have!

  3. Pingback: Carnival of the Blue XLVI | Oceanographer’s Choice

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