Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
On 20 April 2010, Deepwater Horizon released 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and threatened the nation’s largest and most productive wetland ecosystem, the Mississippi River Delta. Support blue crabs, bird rookeries, etc. For comparison, the Exxon Valdez tanker released 11 million gallons.
Along with collaborators from Louisiana State University and Nichols State University, we are tracking the recovery the salt marsh ecosystems to the oil spill. JLab is specifically looking at the recovery of benthic invertebrates (annelids, crustaceans, gastropods, bivalves). We are also using ecological theory such as bottom-up, facilitation models, and non-trophic interactions to inform potential recovery efforts. For example, do manual plantings of marsh grass or fertilizer additions or both increase the rate of recovery of the salt marsh?