DECEMBER 2010

Manatee deaths studied
GULFPORT, Miss. – The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is looking into the recent
deaths of two manatees in the northern Gulf of Mexico. One was found dead in Mobile Bay
on Christmas day, and the other was found alive in the Pascagoula River, but died as it was
being taken to the institute. Indications are the two may have succumbed to the cold
weather. (Sources: Mississippi Press, 12/30/10, WALA-TV, Sun Herald, 12/29/10)

January sci-tech newsletter available
The latest issue of Alliance Insight, a quarterly newsletter highlighting science and
technology in South Mississippi, is now available. The January issue takes a look at what’s in
store for South Mississippi in 2011. Also included: feature stories about NASA’s Stennis
Space Center, the Infinity Science Center, South Mississippi’s airports and the Tradition
planned community. The newsletter is produced by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance for
Economic Development. (Source: Alliance Insight, January 2011)

Workshop scheduled with researchers
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - Researchers from the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf
Coast Research Laboratory and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources will
present a public briefing on the status of coastal fisheries research at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 in the
Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. Topics will include Mississippi’s spotted seatrout population
monitoring, cooperative tag and release programs, and efforts relative to the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill. The program is free and open to the public. (Source: Tcp, 12/02/10, based
on 11/22/10 USM release)


NOVEMBER 2010

Waters closed to royal red shrimping
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has closed 4,213 square miles of Gulf
of Mexico federal waters off Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to royal red shrimping. The
measure was taken Wednesday night after a commercial shrimper discovered tar balls in his
net. Fishing for royal red shrimp is conducted by pulling fishing nets across the bottom of
the ocean floor. The tar balls found in the catch may have been entrained in the net as it
was dragged along the seafloor. Other fishing at shallower depths in this area has not
turned up any tar balls and is thus not impacted by this closure. The tar balls found in the
shrimp net are being analyzed by the U.S. Coast Guard to see if they are from the
Deepwater Horizon/BP spill, NOAA said. (Source: NOAA, 11/24/10)

Monitors put on sea turtles
GULFPORT, Miss. - The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies will track endangered Kemp’s
Ridley sea turtles with satellite monitoring devices and plans to chart their course on a
website. Three turtles released Saturday were visible via satellite, and were heading south
toward the Chandeleur Islands on Sunday, said Moby Solangi, IMMS president and
executive director. Solangi said the research will yield important data on the turtles. (Source:
Sun Herald, 11/21/10)

Science careers topic of lecture
Career opportunities in science and technology will be the topic of the Issues and Answers
lecture Thursday at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park Campus in Long
Beach. The lecture is presented by the Sun Herald and Southern Miss Gulf Coast College of
Science and Technology. It will be held at 7 p.m. at the Fleming Education Center
auditorium. The panel of Southern Miss professors will share information about career
opportunities in geography, biology, industrial engineering technology, molecular biology,
mathematics and marine science. The event is free and open to the public. (Source: USM,
11/17/10)

Microbes to the rescue
More answers are beginning to surface about what happened the oil that gushed into the
Gulf of Mexico from the BP well during the spring and summer. Scientists have tracked how
nontoxic elements of oil became dinner for microbes, and that in turn became food for
plankton. The study focused on the way carbon specific to the oil moved through the food
web. William Graham, a plankton expert at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, said the
speed of how the oil components moved through the ecosystem may affect the overall
health of the Gulf. Questions still remain on the toxic portion of the oil. The study, released
Monday, was funded by the National Science Foundation, Alabama, and BP research funds
distributed through the Northern Gulf Institute at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Sources:
Mobile Press-Register, AP via Sun Herald, 11/08/10)

Fishing closures increase fish count
MOBILE, Ala. – Research suggests the federal closure of the richest portion of the Gulf of
Mexico to all fishing during the spring and summer BP oil spill resulted in dramatic increases
in the number of marine creatures, from shrimp to sharks. Scientists from Dauphin Island
Sea Lab have been surveying Alabama and Mississippi coastal waters for years. Data
collected this year shows a three-fold increase. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 11/07/10)

Evidence of oil on Gulf floor mounts
While the surface signs of this summer’s oil spill are harder to find, that’s not the case on the
floor of the Gulf of Mexico. A “multicorer” used to obtain three soil samples – one 140
nautical miles away, one 16 nautical miles from the well and one mid-way – shows a
difference. The soil the furthest away is all mud, while a sample from the intermediate
location near Gulfport, Miss., has a thin layer of oil. The one near the well is striped with a
bottom layer of mud, a layer that appears to be oil and a top layer of slime that may be oil
with bacteria feeding on it. What all this means for sea life is still to be determined. (Source:
OnEarth magazine, 11/04/10) Federal scientists have found damage to deep sea corals and
other marine life several miles from where the BP well spewed millions of gallons of oil into
the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists said surveys using remotely operated vehicles down to 4,600
feet and seven miles from the BP well found dead and dying corals, some coated with a
brown substance. Further tests are needed to determine if the substance is oil. (Source: AP,
11/05/10)

NOPP presentation scheduled
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The National Oceanographic Partnership Program, which
provides funding for collaborative ocean issues research projects, will make a presentation
Nov. 15 at Stennis Space Center's Building 1100. Participants will learn more about the
program and topics scheduled for funding. NOPP is a collaboration of federal agencies that
support ocean research partnerships involving academia, government, industry, and non-
governmental organizations. NOPP invests in multiple areas, including oceanographic
research and exploration, technology development, resource management, and ocean
education. Proposals to the program must have government, university, and private industry
partners. The meeting is being hosted by the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology. For
more information, contact MsET’s Belinda Gill at 228-688-3144. To register. (Source: MsET,
11/04/10)

Science center topping out date set
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – A "topping out" ceremony has been scheduled for Nov.
17 for the Infinity Science Center being built near NASA's Stennis Space Center. The
ceremony marks a milestone in construction of the multimillion-dollar education center, set to
open in 2012. In addition to the placing of a tree at the highest part of the structure, there
will be remarks by key officials. Infinity, located near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line and
the Mississippi Welcome Center along Interstate 10, is designed to interest young people in
science, technology, engineering and math, and to increase the public’s understanding of
the earth, space and ocean science work done at Stennis Space Center. (Source: Tcp,
11/01/10)


OCTOBER 2010

Oil found on seafloor
Scientists who were aboard two research vessels studying the Gulf of Mexico oil spill's
impact on sea life have found substantial amounts of oil on the seafloor. The oil was in
samples dug up from the seafloor in a 140-mile radius around the site of the well, said Kevin
Yeager, a University of Southern Mississippi assistant professor of marine sciences. He was
the chief scientist on the research trip, which ended last week. (Source: USA Today,
10/24/10)

More federal waters opened
Another 7,000 square miles of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico has been reopened to
commercial and recreational fishing. That leaves just four percent still closed as a result of
this summer’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration said the latest opening is 60 miles east of the well site, between the Florida-
Alabama state line and Cape San Blas, Fl. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 10/22/10)

Oyster farming finds new importance
BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. - Scientists at Auburn University’s Shellfish Laboratory on Dauphin
Island find their work has new significance in the wake of this summer's oil spill. Oyster
farming is popular in other parts of the U.S., but was never found economically viable in
coastal Alabama. Now, Auburn's Shellfish Lab is working with volunteers and leading
experiments to see if such farming can be a money maker. A demonstration at Point aux
Pines near Bayou La Batre may show a way. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/18/10)

Scientists optimistic about funding
Gulf Coast university researchers are optimistic about getting a fair share of the $500 million
in grant money to study the effects of the oil spill. These experts here are most familiar with
the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and could add a lot to the studies, said Denis
Wiesenburg, vice president of research at the University of Southern Mississippi. The Gulf of
Mexico Alliance, a consortium of the five Gulf states, will administer $500 million in grants
that BP PLC committed over 10 years for the study. A board of scientists will manage the
study effort, known as the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. BP and the alliance will each
choose half of the board members. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 10/14/10)

Infinity science center taking shape
HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. – The Infinity Science Center, an interactive facility begin built
near Stennis Space Center along Interstate 10, is beginning to take shape. Work began
May 3 near the Welcome Center in South Mississippi not far from the state line with
Louisiana. The building is scheduled to be finished in August. About 90 percent of the
steelwork is up and 80 percent of the concrete is done. A "topping off" will be celebrated in
the next few weeks. Backers are still raising some $2 million for the $12 million interactive
exhibits. Infinity will highlight ocean, space and earth science through fun exhibits at the
center. It's expected to open in the spring of 2012. (Source: Sun Herald, 10/10/10)

90 percent of federal waters now open
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week reopened to commercial
and recreational fishing another 2,927 square miles of Gulf of Mexico waters off eastern
Louisiana. This is the eighth reopening in federal waters since July 22 in connection with the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill. No oil or sheen has been documented in the area since July 31.
The remaining closed area now covers 23,360 square miles, or about 10 percent of the
federal waters in the Gulf. (Source: NOAA, 10/05/10)

Oil spill impact: Signs looking good?
Some of the researchers most familiar with the northern Gulf of Mexico say the ocean looks
like it should as fall begins, but they agree it could be years before any losses related to this
summer's Deepwater Horizon oil spill become apparent. "Working from the grand caveat that
most of the information we have is anecdotal and suggestive," said Monty Graham, a
biologist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, "it does not appear that there are large pools of oil
running around on the bottom, wreaking havoc." (Source: Mobile Press Register, 10/03/10)
Earlier last week, a NOAA scientist said more than 30,000 samples taken in the Gulf of
Mexico show the Gulf is recovering from the spill. Janet Baran, a National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration scientist who is co-leading the subsurface oil monitoring
program, said samples taken in about 10,000 locations in shallow to deep water, as well as
the ocean floor, show no visible signs of oil. Oil content of the samples is now being
described as being in parts per billion rather than million, representing a thousand-fold
decrease in the amount of oil in the water, she said. (Source: Mississippi Press, 09/30/10)


SEPTEMBER 2010

GCRL shows off new lab
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory this week showed off its
new $2 million Marine Environmental Research Lab at its Cedar Point campus. The lab has
dozens of tanks where scientists can control variable like salinity, flow rate and food
sources. The 6,700-square-foot facility includes a 3,700-square-foot experimental wet lab, a
3,000-square-foot analytical lab, a clean room, environmental control chambers and more
than $1 million in scientific equipment. Funding came from the U.S. Department of Education
grant made available to institutions of higher learning affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Construction on the building began March 2008 and was completed in April 2009. (Sources:
WLOX-TV, Sun Herald, 09/28/10, Mississippi Press, 09/29/10)

Pisces on two-week mission
PASCAGOULA, Miss. - The NOAA ship Pisces left Pascagoula Friday for a two-week mission
to collect samples around the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. A team of 15 federal and
academic scientists is on board the 209-foot Pisces to collect water and sediment samples
within 25 miles of the site of the oil spill. The ship’s mission to see what’s on the seafloor and
the water column. The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. The
runaway well spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico until the flow was stopped July 15. (Source:
Mississippi Press, 09/25/10)

Oil’s impact on whale shark
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill fouled a stretch of feeding habitat for whale sharks, possibly
killing some of the world's largest fish, new research suggests. Oil from the April 20
Deepwater Horizon spill, which wasn't capped until mid-July, flowed into an area south of the
Mississippi River Delta, where a third of all northern Gulf of Mexico whale shark sightings
have occurred in recent years. The spill came at the worst possible time at the worst location
for whale sharks, said biologist Eric Hoffmayer, who studies whale sharks at the University of
Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. Some of the whale sharks may
have moved away to waters less impacted by the spill. (Source: National Geographic News,
09/24/10)

Runaway well finally dead
The runaway Deepwater Horizon well is finally dead. Cement pumped into the well at the
start of the weekend sealed it for good. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen on Sunday
said the well no longer poses a threat. It was April 20 when the BP well exploded, killing 11
workers. It spewed 206 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico in the worst offshore oil spill
in U.S. history. The flow of oil was stopped July 15 with a temporary cap, but the cementing
deep below the floor of the Gulf of Mexico killed it for good. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-
Register, 09/19/10)

Predatory lionfish found off Alabama, Pensacola
Lionfish have been seen off Alabama and Pensacola within the last week, posing a threat to
native species. Lionfish, native to the south Pacific, apparently arrived in U.S. and
Caribbean waters via the aquarium trade. Over the last dozen years, Lionfish have become
established in the Bahamas and along the Atlantic Coast. Studies in the Bahamas show
lionfish are reported to have eaten up to 60 percent of the native fish on coral reefs. The
fish has a mane-like array of venomous spines around its body. The sting is described as
painful and can cause nausea. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 09/16/10)

Oil found on gulf floor
Scientists say they are finding oil from the broken BP well well below the surface on the floor
of the Gulf of Mexico. Oil at least two inches thick has been found a mile under the surface.
Under that oil was dead shrimp and other small animals, according to a University of Georgia
researcher. Researcher Samantha Joye said they found oil as far as 80 miles from the site
of the spill. (Source: AP via Sun Herald, 09/13/10)

Grant funds specimen catalogue
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s Natural History Museum
has received a $190,000 rapid response grant from the National Science Foundation to
catalogue thousands of invertebrate specimens from the northern Gulf of Mexico. About
15,000 lots of specimens are involved in the project, said museum curator Sara LeCroy. She
said the lab has a large collection taken about 15 years ago from the same places where
more recent samples were taken. It will allow for a pre-spill and post-spill comparison.
(Sources: University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi Press, 09/13/10)

Study: Microbes not depleting oxygen
Government scientists are reporting that microbes are consuming the oil in the Gulf of
Mexico without depleting the oxygen in the water and creating “dead zones.” Outside
scientists said this so far vindicates the decision by BP and the government to use chemical
dispersants deep underwater to break up the oil. Oxygen levels in some places where the
BP oil spilled are down by 20 percent, but that’s not low enough to create dead zones,
according to the 95-page report released Tuesday. (Source: AP via Sun Herald, 09/08/10)

Cap removed from ruptured well
BP has successfully removed a temporary cap from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well in
the Gulf of Mexico. The cap had initially sealed the well July 15. The next step is to remove
the damaged blowout preventer and replace it with a new one. Then a relief well will be
completed and the ruptured well will be permanently sealed with mud and cement. The
Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and dumping 206 million gallons of
oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The damaged blowout preventer will be taken to NASA's Michoud
facility in New Orleans for forensic study by the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Ocean
Energy Management, which are jointly investigating the disaster. (Sources: USA Today,
Reuters, 09/02/10) Meanwhile, NOAA reopened 5,130 square miles of Gulf waters stretching
from the far eastern coast of Louisiana, through Mississippi, Alabama, and the western
Florida panhandle. The closed area now measures 43,000 square miles, 18 percent of the
federal waters in the Gulf. At the height of the spill, 37 percent was closed. In another well-
related incident, there was a fire aboard the Mariner Energy production platform in the Gulf
of Mexico Thursday. There were no fatalities and apparently no oil leak.


AUGUST 2010

NSF awards two grants
The National Science Foundation is awarding a Mississippi State University assistant
professor almost $200,000 in rapid response funding to study the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
impact on Louisiana salt marshes. Deepak Mishra's project is assessing overall salt marsh
health and productivity by comparing pre- and post-spill satellite images. Mishra says the
maps and tools developed during the one-year study will aid coastal managers in Louisiana
as they evaluate and prioritize the large-scale marsh restoration efforts. (Source: MSU,
08/31/10) In another NSF rapid response grant, a University of Alabama molecular biologist
was awarded $110,000 to study tiny, transparent animals that live in Gulf Coast waters.
Matthew Jenny, an assistant professor of biological sciences at UA, will study sea
anemones, small animals related to the corals that build ocean reefs. Jenny, working in
collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will collect anemones from coastal
waters of Alabama to Louisiana. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 08/27/10)

Kemp’s Ridley turtles released
GULFPORT, Miss. - Four endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles were released Monday into
Mississippi Sound after being healed at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. The turtles
were caught by fishermen in May and June. Three were treated for hook wounds after being
caught at local piers. The fourth had been in what officials said was critical condition after
being revived on a shrimp boat. IMMS President and Executive Director Moby Solangi
believes since Mississippi waters didn’t have as much oil as other states, more wildlife
sought refuge from the crude here. (Source: Sun Herald, 08/30/10)

Degraded oil tested for dispersant
Degraded oil collected in the Mississippi Sound tested positive for several of the main
ingredients in Corexit, the dispersant used to break up oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil
spill. That’s according to scientists working for a New Orleans-based lawyer. The oil was
collected a mile north of Horn Island Aug. 9. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 08/31/10)
Earlier this month, Dauphin Island Sea Lab Director George Crozier and Robert Shipp,
chairman of the University of South Alabama’s Marine Sciences Department, said at a
lecture that using dispersants to combat the spill will cause problems in the northern Gulf of
Mexico for years to come, but not because the chemicals used to break up the crude pose
any health risk. They said the problem is that by suspending bits of oil in the water column,
generations of filter-feeding organisms could be lost in portions of the northern Gulf.
(Source: Mobile Press-Register, 08/28/10)

Funds to improve university connectivity
Mississippi will get a portion of $20 million being awarded by the National Science
Foundation to enhance broadband access and bolster connectivity for academic research.
NSF awarded 17 universities or state education groups. In one project, money will be used
so Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and the
University of Southern Mississippi can expand Gigabit accessibility to researchers in
modeling and multiscale simulations of complex systems. The upgrade will bolster the state's
capacity to pursue collaborative research in biological systems simulation, computational
biology, and computational chemistry. Another project in Louisiana is also of interest to
Mississippi. That state will receive money to extend the high-bandwidth optical network of the
Louisiana Optical Network Initiative to Xavier University in New Orleans. LONI provides cyber
infrastructure across Louisiana, and includes Mississippi’s four research universities. LONI is
Mississippi’s connection to the National LambdaRail, a coast-to-coast broadband network for
advanced research. Each award provides just over $1 million for up to two years. (Source:
NSF, 08/25/10)

NIUST gets $4.87M
The University of Mississippi-led National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology is
getting $4.87 million in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The funding will be used for infrastructure costs associated with operating and managing the
institute, as well as for individual research projects. NIUST was established in 2002 through
a cooperative agreement involving the University of Mississippi, the University of Southern
Mississippi and NOAA's Undersea Research Program. NOAA also released $999,000 for the
nonprofit Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. (Source: WLOX-TV,
Mississippi Business Journal, 08/18/10) NIUST has three divisions, including the Undersea
Vehicles Technology Center at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Underwater oil subject of search
PASCAGOULA, Miss. - A three-pronged search of the Mississippi Sound for underwater oil
will begin this week and will include Vessels of Opportunity and six Mississippi-owned
skimmers, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality officials said Tuesday. Trudy
Fisher, MDEQ executive director, said the search for submerged oil would provide a
complete picture of whether any oil remains in the water. The search will extend from Mobile
Bay to the Louisiana state line. (Source: Mississippi Press, 08/18/10)

New study ups remaining oil estimate
A team of Georgia researchers using government data estimates that as much as 79
percent of the oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon well remains at large in the Gulf of
Mexico. The estimate is by researchers with the University of Georgia and Georgia Sea
Grant. Two weeks ago the federal government issued a report saying three quarters of the
oil had been captured, burned, dispersed, evaporated, degraded or dissolved in the water.
The Georgia report, unlike the federal analysis, was not subject to peer review. (Source:
New York Times, USA Today, 08/17/10)

Study to focus on salt marshes
The National Science Foundation has awarded a rapid response grant to scientist Eugene
Turner of Louisiana State University and colleagues to measure the impacts of oil and
dispersants on Gulf Coast salt marshes. The researchers will track short-term and longer-
term exposure to oil and dispersants. The coast of Louisiana is lined with extensive salt
marshes whose foundation is two species of Spartina grass. The biologists will document
changes in these critically-important grasses, as well as in the growth of other salt marsh
plants, and in marsh animals and microbes. The grant is one of many Gulf oil spill-related
rapid response awards made by NSF. The agency so far has made more than 60 awards
totaling nearly $7 million. (Source: NSF, 08/16/10)

Oil recovery panel created
Gov. Haley Barbour has created a panel of scientists, business leaders and local officials to
study the impact of the BP oil disaster and come up with a long-term recovery plan. The
Mississippi Gulf of Mexico Commission will be a 34-member board of scientists and business
leaders, with representatives of local governments serving as ex-officio members. The panel
will work with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and various state agencies to develop a plan to
submit to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the former governor of Mississippi. (Source: Sun
Herald, 08/16/10)

Project harvests 3,000 pounds of shrimp
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - An aquaculture project at the Gulf Coast Research Lab has
harvested about 3,000 pounds of shrimp, the largest since the program began in the mid-
1980s. The project is designed to show the viability of raising saltwater shrimp at a
commercial facility. Eight of a dozen tanks at the Cedar Point lab were drained Tuesday
morning, yielding the shrimp. The tanks are 100 feet long, 11 feet wide and 30 inches deep.
Jeff Lotz, chairman of the University of Southern Mississippi Department of Coast Sciences
and director of the marine aquaculture program at GCRL, said the program aims to harvest
about 500 pounds of shrimp per tank every 13 weeks, the minimal production for a
commercial facility. (Source: Mississippi Press, 08/11/10)

Sea level rise to be studied
NOAA awarded $750,000 for the first year of a $3 million research project to develop the
information and tools needed to plan for sea level rise and other consequences of climate
change along more than 300 miles of the northern Gulf of Mexico’s shoreline. The study
team, led by Dr. Scott Hagen of the University of Central Florida, will develop sea level rise
computer models to predict the impacts storms and rising pose to an area between coastal
Mississippi and Northwest Florida. The area being studied has three sites in NOAA’s
National Estuarine Research Reserve System. (Source: NOAA, 08/05/10)

Cement in well has hardened
BP says the cement sealing the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has hardened and BP
engineers can now begin drilling the final 100 feet of a relief well meant to permanently seal
the blowout. The company said it will be next weekend before the two wells meet. The
company used pressure tests to confirm the cement from the static kill had hardened.
(Source: AP via Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, 08/08/10) The Deepwater Horizon
blew up April 20, killing 11 workers. Some 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed into the Gulf of
Mexico until it was capped July 15. It’s the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

State waters opened
All state waters in Mississippi will open to commercial and recreational fishing today. The
move re-opens all territorial waters including those south of the barrier islands to finfish and
shrimp fishing that were closed because due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. All
commercial and recreational crab and oyster fishing remain closed in the affected areas.
(Source: Sun Herald, 08/06/10) The Deepwater Horizon spewed millions of gallons of oil in
the Gulf of Mexico between April 20 and July 15. It’s now been sealed with heavy mud and
cement.

Scientists: Most of leaked oil now gone
Some three-quarters of the oil from the BP spill is has been captured, burned off,
evaporated or broken down. That’s according to a federal report released today based on
estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of
the Interior. The figure is based on 4.9 million barrels of oil released from the well between
April 20 and July 15, when the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well was capped. Heavy mud
was packed into the well between Tuesday and today, killing the well. (Sources: Multiple,
including NOAA, USAToday, Bloomberg, 08/04/10)

Well killed by heavy mud
The BP well that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico has been killed by
heavy drilling mud. BP made the announcement early Wednesday. Technicians will
determine, perhaps as soon as today, whether to follow the mud with cement that would seal
the well permanently. (Source: McClatchy via Sun Herald, 08/04/10) The Deepwater Horizon
exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil flowed freely until a cap was put in place July 15.

New oil spill estimate released
A new analysis by government scientists says the runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico gushed
4.9 million barrels, or 205.8 million gallons of oil – the largest accident spill ever. The well
spewed out 62,000 barrels a day initially, then eased to 53,000 barrels a day until it was
finally capped July 15, according to the Flow Rate Technical Group. Of that amount, some
800,000 barrels were captured. The new numbers were released Monday night. That’s
considerably higher than the 138 million gallons from the Ixtoc I blowout in 1979. A pumping
test and a “static kill” at the site will be delayed until Tuesday after a small hydraulic leak was
discovered in the capping stack hydraulic control system. (Sources: Washington Post,
Bloomberg, AFP, 08/02/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. BP
leased the rig from Transocean.


JULY 2010

Sound opened for fishing
BILOXI, Miss. - The Mississippi Sound reopened today for recreational catch and
consumption after a nearly four-week closure due to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources closed the Sound in the first week of July, then
reopened it a week ago for catch-and-release purposes. Now, anglers will be allowed to
keep their catch. The opening includes all waters in the Mississippi Sound to the barrier
islands, not the waters south of the islands. (Source: Sun Herald, 07/30/10) The Deepwater
Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil and gas spewed into the Gulf of Mexico
until a cap was put in placed and fully closed July 15. Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico
has diminished since through weathering, microbe action and skimming. The long-term
impact, however, is still unclear. The well is expected to be permanently capped next week.

Scientists discuss spill at forum
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. – Scientists from the Gulf Coast Research Lab presented a more
hopeful picture about the effects of the oil on the environment. They said lab tests show
bacterial eat both the oil and dispersant, and researchers are having a hard time finding any
of the underwater plumes that existed earlier in the oil disaster. The comments were made
during a lecture at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center on Thursday. In another matter, Bill
Hawkins, director of GCRL, said no one on his staff is on retainer to do research for BP. A
report by the Mobile Press-Register earlier this month said BP was trying to hire scientists to
provide research, under condition they not release any of their findings for three years.
(Source: Sun Herald, Mississippi Press, 07/30/10)

Permanent plug before Aug. 1 possible
BP may move up the schedule for its effort to permanently plug the Gulf of Mexico well that
caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The static kill would involve pumping mud into the
top of the well and perhaps sealing it with cement, and may be done before Aug. 1. The well
was capped July 15, and no oil has spewed into the Gulf of Mexico since then. Government
scientists decided no leaks will be triggered by a static kill. (Source: Bloomberg, 07/29/10)
The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Millions of gallons of oil
spewed into the water until it was capped in the middle of the month. Oil that had been on
the surface of the Gulf of Mexico has been vanishing through weathering, oil-eating
microbes and skimming operations. Scientists believe oil is also still in the water but out of
sight.

Oil spill Day 100
It’s been nearly two weeks since oil has spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from the ruptured
well in the Gulf of Mexico thanks to a temporary cap put in place July 15. Bob Dudley, the
new chief executive of BP, said he doesn’t think any more oil will gush into the Gulf of
Mexico. A permanent fix will come in mid-August when relief wells reach their target and the
pipe is sealed with mud and cement. Significantly less crude is now floating on the surface of
the Gulf of Mexico, some breaking up due to weathering and oil-eating bacteria, some
remaining sub-surface. Consequences of the spill may take years to identify, and BP’s
compensation fund should be flexible enough to account for long-term losses, a panel of
experts from Alaska’s Exxon Valdez tanker spill told a Senate panel Tuesday. The April 20
explosion the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and gushed up to 184 million gallons of
oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (Sources: Multiple, 07/28/10)

Scientists to discuss oil spill impact
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - Scientists from the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast
Research Lab will discuss the impact of the oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem at the
next Issues and Answers lecture series Thursday night. The series, sponsored by the Sun
Herald and USM, will be at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center. USM's Bill Hawkins, the
panel moderator, said it may take years to know the full effects of the spill on the water and
the marine life, but he hopes the lecture will help people understand what is going on.
(Source: Sun Herald, USM, 07/24/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11
workers. The ruptured well spilled oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico until July 15. A
permanent fix is expected early next month.

Drill rig, others, returning to spill site
Tropical Storm Bonnie has weakened into a tropical depression, so a drilling rig and a dozen
other ships working to repair the busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico are returning. Workers
on Friday moved away from the projected path, but since then the threat has diminished.
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, leader of the federal response, said it will take 24 to
36 hours to get the drilling ship back at the site, and at least a week before drilling can begin
again. The well has been capped for more than a week. The vessels relaying video images
and seismic readings from undersea robots monitoring the leaky well are still in place and
may be able to stay. (Sources: New York Times, AP via Mobile Press-Register, 07/24/10)

Well to remain plugged
Ships over the crippled well in the Gulf of Mexico were ordered to evacuate Thursday ahead
of Tropical Storm Bonnie, but the leaky cap fixed to well head will remain closed while they
are gone. The storm could delay another 12 days the push to plug the well using mud and
cement. (Source: AP via Sun Herald, 07/23/10)

Well deemed OK; new fix pondered
BP is considering a plan that could permanently seal the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Kent
Wells, a senior vice president for BP, said the company was studying a “static kill,” in which
heavy mud would be pumped into the capped well, forcing the oil and gas back down into
the reservoir. A decision to proceed could be made in several days, he said. Meanwhile,
scientists Monday allayed concerns the well was damaged. They determined that methane
gas seeping from the seafloor nearly two miles from the well was a natural occurrence and
not related to a pressure test to assess the well’s condition. (Source: New York Times,
07/19/10)

Leak detected away from well
A leak of oil or gas has been detected a distance from the wellhead that was capped
Thursday to stop the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. Retired Coast Guard Adm.
Thad Allen, the federal government’s oil spill response director, ordered BP to prepare to
open it should the seepage be confirmed. No information was available on the size of the
leak, the distance from the wellhead or how it was discovered. (Sources: CNN, New Orleans
Times-Picayune, Bloomberg, 07/18/10)

Cap may remain shut
BP executive Doug Suttles said Sunday that a cap used to shut off the oil geyser in the Gulf
of Mexico seems to be holding, and may remain shut until a relief well can provide a
permanent fix later this month or next month. That differs from the plan the federal
government laid out Saturday, which calls for releasing oil into the Gulf and connecting the
cap to tankers at the surface. (Sources: Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, 07/18/10)
The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil had flowed into the water
until a cap was put in place Thursday.

“A Whale” fails
The massive oil skimmer "A Whale" has proven inefficient in sucking up oil in the Gulf of
Mexico spill. The oil is too dispersed to take advantage of the converted Taiwanese
supertanker's enormous capacity, said Bob Grantham, a spokesman for shipowner TMT.
The 10-story-tall, 1,100-foot-long ship boasted it could process 21 million gallons oily water
a day. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 07/16/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded
April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil had been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico until it was capped
during the week. Officials are still monitoring the cap to ensure it's working.

Oil flow stopped
BP says oil has stopped leaking into the Gulf for the first time since April. BP slowly dialed
down the flow as part of a test on a new cap. Engineers are now monitoring the pressure to
see if the busted well holds. The 2:25 p.m. CDT shutoff of the oil is a significant milestone in
BP's effort to stop the flow of oil and gas. (Source: AP, 07/15/10) The Deepwater Horizon
exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has soiled coastlines from Texas to Northwest
Florida. A relief well to permanently seal the leak is proceeding.

Test of well cap under way
A test is under way on a new, tighter cap over the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico. The
government gave the go-ahead for the test after a daylong delay prompted by concerns that
the cap might make the leak worse. The oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico since
the Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. (Sources: Multiple, 07/14/10)

New cap being tested
BP has placed a new, tight-fitting cap on the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico and will test
it to see if it can withstand the pressure of the oil and gas. Oil from the well has been
spewing into the Gulf of Mexico since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon April 20. In
another matter, a new moratorium, no longer based on water depth, was issued on deep-
water offshore drilling. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar argued that a pause is needed to
ensure that oil and gas companies implement safety measures. It will remain in effect until
November. (Source: Multiple, 07/13/10)

Oil, gas pouring freely in Gulf of Mexico
Oil is now pouring freely from the pipe in the Gulf of Mexico. The old cap, which did not fit
well, was removed and a new one that will fit more tightly will be put in place. BP hopes the
new cap will allow all of the leaking oil – as much as 80,000 barrels a day – to be captured.
But that process could take several days. A permanent fix is not expected until relief wells
are put in place. (Source: Multiple, 07/11/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20,
killing 11 workers. Oil has spewed into the Gulf of Mexico ever since. Oil has washed ashore
in five states.

New well cap may offer relief
BP plans to remove the loose cap over its gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday
and replace it with a firm one that could capture almost all the oil and gas gushing out. The
plan is to have it in place by Monday. If the process works, workers would funnel the leaking
oil into tankers on the surface, meaning no additional oil and gas will gush into the Gulf
waters. National Incident Commander Thad Allen announced late Friday that he approved a
detailed timeline submitted by BP. The best hope for stopping the leaks are two relief wells.
(Source: Washington Post, 07/10/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11
workers. Oil has leaked ever since and has washed ashore from Texas to Northwest Florida.

Giant skimmer to get more testing
That giant skimmer called “A Whale” will get another week of testing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tests last weekend were inconclusive. The Taiwanese tanker was converted into a skimmer
and tested last weekend, but six-foot waves limited the flow of oily water into the six intake
vents. The company that owns the ship says it can process 21 million gallons of oily water a
day. (Source: New Orleans Times Picayune, 07/08/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded
April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil from the broken well has spewed into the Gulf of Mexico ever
since.

Oil flow to end this month?
A BP executive said the gushing oil may be stopped this month. The long-anticipated
"bottom kill" of the well, a dose of mud and cement shot through a relief well now being
drilled, could take place before the end of July. "In a perfect world with no interruptions, it's
possible to be ready to stop the well between July 20 and July 27," BP managing director
Bob Dudley said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. (Source: Wall Street Journal,
07/08/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. The well has spewed
oil into the Gulf of Mexico ever since.

Containment vessel hooks up to pipe
A new containment vessel is partly linked to the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials
said they’ll know soon if it’s properly connected. The Helix Producer can collect up to 25,000
barrels of oil a day. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-Register). Oil has now hit all the Gulf
Coast states, with a tar balls coming ashore in Texas. Oil has also made its way into Lake
Pontchartrain. (Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 07/06/10) A Navy airship, MZ-3A,
has been assigned to the Gulf Coast to be used in the Deepwater Horizon response. It will
be used to spot and monitor oil to support skimming operations and will also help find
endangered animals to help responders. (Source: Sun Herald, 07/06/10) The Deepwater
Horizon exploded April 20 and has been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico ever since. Relief
wells, seen as the best hope at stopping the flow, are getting near.

Huge skimmer test inconclusive
Testing of a 10-story tall skimmer that's seen as a best hope for sucking up oil in the Gulf of
Mexico has been inconclusive because of rough seas. The vessel can pull in 21 million
gallons of water a day. Tests will continue. (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 07/05/10)
A ban on fishing in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico has been extended to an area south
of Vermilion Bay, La. About a third of the Gulf is now closed to fishing. (Source: AP via
Mobile Press-Register, 07/05/10) BP's costs for the oil spill is now just over $3 billion. It was
$2.65 billion a week ago. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-Register, 07/05/10) The Deepwater
Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil and gas have spewed into the Gulf of
Mexico ever since, soiling the coastlines and wildlife from Louisiana to Florida. The tourism
and fishing industries have taken a huge hit.

Whale sharks near oil spill tagged
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss.- Renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle teamed with Dr. Eric
Hoffmayer of the Gulf Coast Research Lab to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon
spill on Gulf of Mexico whale sharks. They spent three days in the Gulf of Mexico and found
more than 100 whale sharks 90 miles south of Grand Isle, La., some 60 miles west of the oil
spill. They tagged four of the sharks. Whale sharks suck in marine organisms at the surface
of the water for food, and may be ingesting oil with their food. Earle is an explorer-in-
residence at National Geographic. Her “Mission Blue” project is a quest to protect hot spots
in the world’s oceans. (Source: WLOX-TV, 07/01/10)

BP oil spill sets record
The BP oil spill has now eclipsed the size of the 1979 spill off the coast of Mexico, reports
the Associated Press. The BP spill was already being called the worst in U.S. history. The
spill started April 20 with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. It’s now estimated to have
spilled 140.6 million gallons of oil into Gulf waters, based on the highest of the federal
government's estimates. The Ixtoc I spill in Mexico was 140 million gallons. (Source: USA
Today, 07/01/10)

Scientist: Oil in estuarine food chain
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - Scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi and Tulane
University have found oil in the postlarvae of blue crabs entering coastal marshes along the
Gulf Coast. Harriet Perry, director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at
the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, found droplets of hydrocarbons in blue crab and
fiddler crab larvae. The oil appears to be trapped between the hard, outer shell of the crab
and its inner skin. Perry said she’s sampled Mississippi coastal waters for 42 years and has
never seen this. (Source: Sun Herald, 07/01/10)

EPA: Dispersant less risky than oil
The Environmental Protection Agency released its first report on the dispersant Corexit
9500, which BP applied to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The EPA concluded that the oil
dispersant is less harmful than the oil spill after testing the dispersant on marine animals in a
lab setting.EPA's assistant administrator for research and development, Paul Anastas said
in this crisis oil is the No. 1 public enemy. He said, however, that it’s too early to tell the long-
term impact. (Source: Washington Post, 06/30/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April
20, and oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico ever since. A relief well is nearing its
goal.

“A Whale” awaits
NEW ORLEANS, La. - A 10-story ship that was refitted to skim for oil is now at the mouth of
the Mississippi River to suck up oil that’s spilled in the Gulf of Mexico. The crew is awaiting
approval to begin work, according to a spokesman for the Taiwanese company that owns it.
The “A Whale” arrived in the Gulf on Wednesday. The ship, built in South Korea, was
originally designed as a cargo vessel. It can skim 250 times as much as the modified fishing
boats now skimming in the Gulf of Mexico. (Source: CNN, 07/01/10) The Deepwater Horizon
exploded April 20 and the pipe a mile under the Gulf of Mexico has been spewing oil ever
since. A relief well is getting close to its target.


JUNE 2010

Relief well nears goal
BP says the rig drilling the relief well to stop the Gulf oil spill has made it within about 20 feet
horizontally of the well. The rig is going to drill an additional 900 feet before crews cut in
sideways and start pumping in heavy mud to try to stop the flow from the damaged well.
(Source: AP via Mobile Press-Register, 06/28/10) BP’s mounting costs for capping and
cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico spill have reached $2.65 billion. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-
Register, 06/28/10)

System a game-changer in mine warfare
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The commanding officer of the mine warfare center
called the system a game-changer that affirms Naval Oceanography’s mine warfare role.
The new mine detection method is more selective and does the work in less time than in the
past. The concept of centralized data fusion was proven during a mine warfare exercise
earlier this month in Norfolk, Va. Data fusion takes information from multiple sources and
"fuses" them into a stream more useful for analysis. Experts from Stennis Space Center's
Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center and the Naval Oceanographic Office processed
a majority of the data, fused and conducted analysis on all of the mine-like contacts, then
advised which required diver identification. It reduced by 57 percent the number of mine-like
objects that had to be checked. In the past analysis took four times as long as data
collection - this time it was 0.7 as long. The data fusion and analysis used upgraded
software developed by the Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis. "We've never operated at
this level before,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Parker, whose squad operated 14 unmanned
underwater vehicles from multiple organizations collecting data. "It was a game-changer for
mine warfare, and Naval Oceanography's role in it," said Cmdr. Matthew Borbash, NOMWC
commanding officer. (Source: NNS, 06/28/10)

Concerns raised over grants
The $500 million BP has committed over 10 years for academic research into the Gulf of
Mexico oil spill has pleased a lot of researchers who have in the past found research
funding hard to get. But there's some concern about the White House ordering BP to consult
with Gulf Coast governors before awarding grants. And some are also concerned that the
research may leave out the expertise from key institutions outside the Gulf of Mexico region.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 06/26/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11
workers. Oil and gas has gushed into the Gulf of Mexico since then with no end expected
until August, when relief wells are in place.

NSF grant studies beached oil
Researchers who studied a stretch of coastline from Alabama's Dauphin Island to the
eastern end of Santa Rosa Island in Florida found cleanup efforts still leave behind
numerous small tar balls that wind up buried in the sand. It will take longer for these decay.
The study by University of South Florida geologists was funded by the National Science
Foundation’s Rapid Response grant. (Source: NSF, 06/25/10) The Deepwater Horizon
exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil and gas have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico since
then, despite attempts to mitigate the flow. Oil in various forms has washed into marshes
and beaches from Louisiana to Florida, and a slick remains in the Gulf of Mexico.

Team focuses on oil plume
Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution embarked on June 17 for a 12-
day research effort in the Gulf of Mexico to characterize subsurface oil plumes. They are
aboard the research vessel (R/V) Endeavor conducting projects funded through the
National Science Foundation rapid response program. The research should help answer
questions about the fate of oil released into the water, examining the physical extent,
chemical composition and biological impact of subsea plumes. The research pulls together
some of the most advanced technology for underwater chemical sampling and underwater
autonomous vehicles. The team has studied archived oil spill reports stretching back 40
years and has received data and advice from colleagues at other institutions who recently
surveyed the site. (Source: NSF, 06/22/10)

Cap reattached; Dudley now in charge
BP had to remove a cap that was containing some of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico
after an underwater robot bumped the venting system. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said
crews are checking to see if crystals have formed before putting it back on. A different
system is stilling burning oil on the surface. The cap was later reattached. (Source: AP via
Washington Post, 06/23/10) In another spill matter, BP put Mississippi native Bob Dudley in
charge of handling the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Wednesday. Dudley, who grew up in
Hattiesburg, Miss., is now the point man in the mission to stop the oil gusher and deal with
the economic damage it has caused. (Source: AP via New Orleans Times-Picayune,
06/23/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil and gas have
spewed into the Gulf of Mexico ever since.

Some Omega Protein boats return
MOSS POINT, Miss. - Four of the nine boats that left the Omega Protein facility in Moss
Point have returned and prospects are looking good that the others will also be back.
Omega Protein's fleet stationed in Moss Point was moved to Louisiana on April 30 as areas
of the Gulf of Mexico were closed to fishing due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The
vessels worked out of the company's facilities at Abbeville, La., and Cameron, La. Omega
Protein produces Omega-3 fish oil and specialty fish meal products. (Source: Mississippi
Press, 06/22/10)

Judge blocks moratorium
NEW ORLEANS, La. - A federal judge blocked the administration's six-month ban on new
deepwater drilling that was imposed in the wake of an ongoing oil spill. The judge said the
Interior Department failed to provide adequate reasoning. The administration will appeal.
The request to overturn the moratorium came from several companies that provide services
to offshore drilling rigs. (Source: AP via Washington Post, 06/22/10) The Deepwater Horizon
exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has spewed into the Gulf of Mexico since. Efforts to
capture oil from the well have improved incrementally. An oil slick remains in the Gulf of
Mexico, generally moving eastward. Coastlines in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and
Florida have been soiled, and cleanup efforts are ongoing.

Summit on spill scheduled
LONG BEACH, Miss. – A summit has been scheduled for June 30 at the University of
Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, Miss. The Mississippi Gulf Coast
Oil Spill Disaster Recovery Summit is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Fleming Education
Center auditorium. The summit will address the potential long-term impacts on the
environment, the economy and the well-being of Mississippi Gulf Coast citizens. The idea is
to begin development of community-wide strategies to respond to and recover from this spill.
The free summit, open to the public, is hosted by the Center for Policy and Resilience at
USM Gulf Coast in collaboration with the South Mississippi Voluntary Organizations Active in
Disasters. Registration is required by Monday, June 28. The form and additional information
can be found at the summit Web site. (Source: University of Southern Mississippi, 06/22/10)

Hayward relieved of oil duty chores
BP chief executive Tony Hayward is handing over day-to-day responsibility for managing the
Gulf of Mexico oil spill to the company's American managing director, Robert Dudley. Word
came from BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg in an interview on Britain's Sky News
network. Dudley became a BP managing director a year ago with oversight responsibility for
the company's activities in the Americas and Asia. (Source: Washington Post, 06/18/10)
Meanwhile, environmental scientists are looking at the Mississippi River as a potential ally in
the battle to minimize damage to beaches and coastal wetlands. (Source: NSF, 06/18/10)
The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil, many times more than
spilled in the Exxon Valdez, has spewed into the Gulf of Mexico since.

Threat: More dead zones?
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The oil emanating from busted well contains about 40 percent
methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, and could suffocate
marine life and create “dead zones.” That’s according to John Kessler, a Texas A&M
University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill. Dead zones
are areas where oxygen is so depleted nothing lives. "This is the most vigorous methane
eruption in modern human history," Kessler said. (Source: AP, 06/18/10) Efforts to recover
the oil took a step forward with 25,000 barrels captured Thursday by two different surface
vessels, according to Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen. But there’s still oil and gas surging
from around a containment cap on the damaged BP wellhead, Allen said. (Source:
Washington Post, 06/18/10)

BP agrees to escrow account
BP and the administration reached a tentative agreement where the oil company will place
$20 billion in an escrow account to pay claims resulting from the Deepwater Horizon spill in
the Gulf of Mexico. (Source: Washington Post, 06/16/10) BP has started burning the oil
siphoned from the ruptured well as part of its plans to more than triple the amount of crude it’
s capturing. BP says the burner could incinerate anywhere from 210,000 gallons of oil to
420,000 gallons of oil daily once it's fully operational. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-Register,
06/16/10) The rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. The well has spewed oil into the Gulf
of Mexico since.

BP announces first $25M in research
The Northern Gulf Institute at Stennis Space Center, Miss., will receive $10 million to study
the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NGI is one of three groups getting a total of
$25 million in initial funding from BP. The company three weeks ago pledged $500 million for
a 10-year program of research, the Gulf Coast Research Initiative, in the wake of the
explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and subsequent massive oil spill. On Tuesday it
announced the first installment. NGI is a consortium led by Mississippi State University.
Other members are the University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University,
Florida State University and Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Mobile, Ala. Another $10 million is
going to the Florida Institute of Oceanography, a consortium of 20 institutions with marine
science interests, including 11 state universities. It’s led by the University of South Florida.
The remaining $5 million is going to Louisiana State University, which has been promised
$10 million over 10 years. In a related matter, the director of the National Institutes of Health
told a House committee Tuesday that the institutes will spend $10 million on research on the
potential health impacts of the spill. (Source: Multiple, including New York Times, OilVoice,
ENewsParkForest, 06/15/10)

Mabus to head Gulf restoration plan
President Barack Obama told the nation Tuesday night that in the coming days and weeks,
new efforts to stem the flow of crude into the Gulf of Mexico “should capture up to 90
percent of the oil.” Obama also named Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, former governor of
Mississippi, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan that will be designed by
states, local communities and other stakeholders from the Gulf Coast. The president, in a
prime time address from the Oval Office, called the leak an epidemic that will be fought “for
months and even years.” Obama, who spent the last two days on the Gulf Coast, said he’ll
meet with the chairman of BP Wednesday “and inform him that he is to set aside whatever
resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been
harmed as a result of his company's recklessness.” The fund will be administered by an
independent third party. (Source: Tcp, 06/15/10)

New flow estimate released
There’s a new estimate for the size of the Gulf oil spill. A government panel of scientists said
the well is leaking between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day. Previous estimates put the size
as 20,000 to 40,000 barrels a day. The numbers are based on an analysis of high-
resolution video taken by underwater robots, pressure meters, sonar, and measurements of
oil collected by the containment device on top of the well. (Source: AP via Washington Post,
06/15/10). Earlier today, an apparent lightning strike caused a fire and forced BP to shut
down a system that’s been capturing oil from the well. The fire was extinguished and there
were no injuries. The system was restarted about five hours later. (Source: AP, 06/15/10)
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama wrapped up a two-day visit to the Gulf Coast Tuesday
after spending the night in Pensacola, Fla. He’s scheduled to give an evening talk from the
Oval Office. (Multiple, 06/15/10)

New procedure to capture oil has risks
BP unveiled a plan to boost the amount of oil it’s siphoning off the ruptured well in the Gulf
of Mexico. It’s sending more vessels to the site to increase its ability to capture oil from
15,000 barrels a day to more than 50,000 barrels by the end of this month as much as
80,000 barrels a day by mid-July. This week it will attach a pipe to a part of the blowout
preventer used in the failed “top kill” effort, and burn off any retrieved oil. But BP says the
“junk” fired into the blowout preventer during top kill could clog the lines. Moreover, those
lines were not intended for continuous use and could erode. (Sources: Multiple, including
Reuters, Christian Science Monitor, 06/14/10) President Barack Obama is in the Gulf Coast
for a two-day visit. He warned of hard times to come, but also touted the region's continued
viability for tourists. (Sources: Multiple, including Los Angeles Times, 06/14/10) Obama will
address the nation Tuesday and Wednesday will meet with BP executives. The Deepwater
Horizon blew up April 20, killing 11 workers. The spill has soiled 120 miles of coastline,
damaged the fishing and tourism industry and has killed birds, sea turtles and dolphins.

NOAA grant awarded to SURA
A $4 million NOAA grant will help a university consortium evaluate the readiness of marine
forecasts, such as flooding from storm surge or seasonal dead zones, along the Atlantic and
Gulf of Mexico coasts and improve those forecasts for use by emergency managers,
scientific researchers and the general public. The grant will go to the Southeastern
Universities Research Association, a group of more than 60 universities, including those
located in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. (Source: NOAA, 06/11/10)

Estimate of oil goes up
The Deepwater Horizon well is spewing at least 25,000 barrels of oil a day, and may be
producing 40,000 or even 50,000 barrels a day. That’s according to preliminary research
from two teams of scientists appointed by the federal government to study the flow into the
Gulf of Mexico. But another scientific team using a different methodology estimates a flow of
12,600 to 21,500 barrels. (Source: Washington Post, 06/10/10) Meanwhile, heavier
concentrations of oil from the well have begun to hit Florida shores, (Source: Reuters,
06/10/10) and Congressional leaders stepped up pressure on BP to fully compensate
economic victims of the spill. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-Register, 06/10/10) The
Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has spewed in the Gulf of
Mexico since then.

Underwater plumes confirmed
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed underwater oil plumes as
far as 142 miles from the BP oil spill. But concentrations are said to be "very low." NOAA
Administrator Jane Lubchenco said that the tests conducted at three sites by a University of
South Florida research vessel confirmed oil as far as 3,300 feet below the surface. (Source:
Multiple, including AP, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, 06/08/10) BP says the cost of the
company's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reached about $1.25 billion. BP
says the figure does not include $360 million for a project to build 6 sand berms meant to
protect Louisiana's wetlands from spreading oil. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-Register,
06/07/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has poured into
the Gulf of Mexico since then. Shorelines from Louisiana to Florida have been soiled by oil,
often in the form of tarballs. A cap is now capturing some of the oil, and a larger cap will be
put over the well next month. It will be August before relief wells to stop the leak are in place.

Cap recovering 10,000 barrels a day
The cap that was placed on the well that’s been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico is
capturing some 10,000 barrels per day, about half the estimated flow. That’s according to
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is commanding the federal response to the spill.
(Source: New York Times, 06/06/10) Meanwhile, NOAA has opened more than 16,000
square miles of previously closed fishing area off the Florida coast. The most significant
opening is a 13,653-square mile area just west of the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. It was
initially closed on June 2 as a precaution because oil was projected to be within the area
over the next 48 hours. However, the review of satellite imagery, radar and aerial data
indicated that oil had not moved into the area. Additionally, the agency closed a 2,275-
square mile area off the Florida panhandle federal-state waterline, extending the northern
boundary just east of the western edge of Choctawhatchee Bay. The closed area now
represents 78,182 square miles, about 32 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. (Source:
NOAA, 06/04/10)

Some oil being captured from cap
Oil continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico, but a cap placed on the well is allowing some of
the oil to be collected. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said at a news conference today that
BP collected 6,000 barrels of oil in the first 24 hours of pumping oil to a ship on the surface.
It plans to slowly close four vents on top of the containment cap to reduce the escaping oil.
(Sources: Multiple, including AP, USAToday, 06/05/10) The shorelines of four states have
been soiled with oil – some of it with the consistency of melted chocolate, some as tar balls.
The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Some 19,000 barrels of oil a
day is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. Multiple efforts to contain it have failed. It will be
August before relief wells are in place. Computer models show the oil could wind up on the
East Coast and eventually be carried across the Atlantic toward Europe.

Spill offers research bonanza
BATON ROUGE, La. - As terrible as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is, it offers an
opportunity for research. Scientists and federal officials gathered at Louisiana State
University Thursday for a day-long brainstorming. "We're here to find out what we know,
what we don't know and what we need to know," said Robert Gagosian, president of the
nonprofit Consortium for Ocean Leadership, which organized the event. An oceanographer
at the Naval Research Lab at Stennis Space Center, Miss., Sonia Gallegos, last year
received NASA funding to study spills. She said she wanted a small spill, but not something
like this. She lives two blocks from the beach in Bay St. Louis and said the spill breaks her
heart. (Source: Washington Post, 06/03/10)

Pipe cut, capping effort next
U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said BP has successfully sliced off a pipe in an effort to
contain the oil that’s gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. He said the cap was over the gusher
and will be lowered today. In this method, oil will be pumped to the surface. The best chance
to plug the leak with relief wells is still two months away. (Source: AP via Washington Post,
06/03/10) The area closed to fishing in the Gulf of Mexico represents 75,920 square miles,
slightly more than 31 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters. (Source: NOAA, 06/01/10)
The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has been gushing into the
Gulf of Mexico ever since. Attempts to stem the flow so far have failed. Most of the oil has
come ashore in Louisiana.

Criminal probe launched
The government has launched a criminal and civil investigation into the Deepwater Horizon
oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday after meeting with
state and federal prosecutors in New Orleans. Federal agencies are participating in the
probe. (Source: Reuters via Washington Post, 06/01/10) Meanwhile, Gov. Haley Barbour of
Mississippi said oil has nearly reached Petit Bois Island. His comment came during a
conference call to update the media on the ongoing effort to fend off the oil. The island is
south of Jackson County. (Source: Sun Herald, 06/01/10). Oil is expected to hit Alabama
shores Wednesday afternoon. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/01/10) The Deepwater
Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has leaked from the broken riser ever
since, and efforts to stem the flow have failed.


May 2010

Oil may leak until August
Obama administration and BP officials said oil could continue flowing into the Gulf of Mexico
until August, when relief wells are finished. Presidential adviser Carol Browner said on the
CBS show Face the Nation that the American people need to know that’s possible. The spill,
already the worst in U.S. history, could get worse for several days as BP cuts a pipe that
rises from the seabed, said Browner. The cut would remove the kink that’s been limiting the
flow of oil. As much as 20 percent more oil could come out over four to seven days while a
new containment method is put in place. BP gave up on the “top kill” method Saturday, and
it now hopes to cap the well with a containment structure from which oil can be channeled to
the surface and collected. (Source: Washington Post, 05/30/10)

BP’s top kill fails
BP says the “top kill” method to stop the leak in the Gulf of Mexico has failed. The company
tried for three days to stop the flow of oil by pumping heavy drilling mud into the leak. Most
has apparently escaped from the riser. The company will now try a “lower marine riser
package” that won’t plug the well but capture most of the oil on the sea floor and channel it
to the surface for collection. It will take four days to put in place. The rig exploded April 20,
killing 11 workers. Oil has leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since then, and each effort to stop
the flow has failed. It's now the worst spill in U.S. history. (Source: Multiple, including AP via
Sun Herald, Reuters, 05/29/10)

Universities offer research help
Gulf Coast universities are lining up to help study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil
spill. Mississippi's higher education commissioner, Hank Bounds, was on Capitol Hill during
the week touting the state's research capabilities. "I think we have an obligation to make
certain that we bring our intellectual capabilities into play," he said. (Source: Clarion Ledget,
05/27/10) Michael Carron, director of the Northern Gulf Institute at Stennis Space Center,
Miss., was also in Washington. NGI is a consortium of universities that study the Gulf of
Mexico. Carron said it will take years before the impact is fully known, along with millions in
research dollars. He said BP has already committed $500 million. (Source: Sun Herald,
05/28/10) The BP well exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil and gas has leaked into the
Gulf of Mexico ever since. BP is currently trying to stop the leak by forcing heavy mud and
debris into the pipe. NOAA has extended the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico. It now
represents about 25 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters.

Study: Hurricanes can snap pipelines
A study by scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center, Miss.,
shows currents from hurricanes can reach deep underwater and rupture oil and natural gas
pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico. Results of the study will be published next month by the
American Geophysical Union. Researchers found that currents became so strong that they
triggered mudslides big enough to break pipelines or other underwater equipment, and the
stress can persist up to a week. Disruption of the seafloor, including mudslides, can reach
depths of 300 feet. They came up with the findings after installing six sensors on the
seafloor to record changes induced by hurricanes. The sensors looked at 2004’s Hurricane
Ivan, which disrupted several underwater pipelines in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Ivan
damaged or destroyed 22 platforms and damaged and disrupted 13 undersea oil and
natural gas pipelines. Researchers found that even storms far weaker than Ivan could
disrupt the ocean floor, and that some breaks can go undetected. (Sources: Reuters, BBC,
Discovery, 05/27/10) The Gulf of Mexico is already trying to cope with the oil spill from the
Deepwater Horizon, and hurricane season begins next month.

Officials remain hopeful
Officials remain hopeful the “top kill” procedure to stem the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico
will work, but they are not ready to declare success. Early Thursday Adm. Thad Allen of the
U.S. Coast Guard said BP had temporarily stopped the flow of oil. But BP’s chief operating
officer later said petroleum was still flowing. Once it stops, cement will be pumped in to seal
the well. (Source: Los Angeles Times, 05/27/10) An underwater oil plume was found by
University of South Florida researchers, adding to fears much of the spill is beneath the
surface. It’s apparently heading towards Mobile Bay. (Source: Washington Post, Associated
Press, 05/27/10) Thirty-three exploratory rigs operating in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico
were told they’d have to shut down pending a review of safety measures; the director of
Minerals Management Service, S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, resigned. (Sources: Multiple,
05/27/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Since then, oil from
the well has flowed into the Gulf of Mexico and efforts to contain it have been unsuccessful.
The spill is now called the worst in U.S. history.

Scientists: Gulf leak bigger than Valdez
Scientists say the amount of oil that’s flowed into the Gulf of Mexico from a damaged BP well
is much greater than originally believed, and has surpassed the 11 million gallons that
spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Director Dr.
Marcia McNutt said at a news conference Thursday that two teams of scientists, using
different methods have preliminarily determined that between 17 and 27 million gallons of oil
have gushed into the ocean so far. (Source: Washington Post, 05/27/10)

Top kill working
Workers have stopped the flow of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico from a BP well,
according to U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen. The “top kill” effort, launched Wednesday,
had pumped enough drilling fluid to block oil and gas spewing from the well, Allen said. Once
the pressure drops to zero, workers will begin pumping cement into the hole to entomb the
well. (Sources: Multiple, including Tribune Washington Bureau via Sun Herald, Los Angeles
Times, 05/27/10)

NAVO, NOAA partner to monitor spill
The NOAA ship Thomas Jefferson is underway on a mission to deploy a variety of ocean
monitoring instruments in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The instrumented
floats, drifters and gliders, operated by the Naval Oceanographic Office at Stennis Space
Center, Miss., will help researchers monitor the surface and deep currents, including the
Loop Current, that are distributing the oil. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations operates the 208-foot
hydrographic ship, homeported in Norfolk, Va. It was initially deployed to the Gulf in early
April to conduct surveys to update nautical charts and to baseline benthic habitats in the
Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary. The data from the Naval Oceanographic Office
instruments will be shared with the scientific community and used to improve the accuracy of
circulation models in the Gulf of Mexico. A NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion also has been
gathering data on the Loop Current while other NOAA aircraft have been mapping the spill's
extent and surveying marine mammals in the affected area. (Source: NOAA, 05/26/10)

Anger over spill grows
The anger over the inability to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has been building for a
long time, and now it’s gushing out like the oil itself. There have also been numerous reports
about angry fishermen who have offered to use their boats to help skim the oil, but they are
sitting idle. (Source: Multiple, 05/26/10) Democrat strategist James Carville on “Good
Morning America” lashed out at the Obama administration’s “lackadaisical” response. "It just
looks like [Obama is] not involved," Carville said. "Man, you got to get down here and take
control of this, put somebody in charge of this thing and get moving. We're about to die
down here." (Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 05/26/10) Meanwhile, Commerce
Secretary Gary Locke on Monday declared the Gulf of Mexico a national fisheries disaster,
citing the damage to the region's multibillion-dollar fishing industry by oil. The National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has closed nearly 20 percent of the commercial
and recreational fisheries in the area because of the spill. Fisheries of Louisiana, Mississippi
and Alabama are covered by the disaster declaration, making them eligible for federal relief
funds. (Source: CNN, 05/24/10, New York Times, 05/26/10)

Top kill procedure begins
BP has begun a critical maneuver to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. BP engineers
armed with 50,000 barrels of dense mud and a robotic submarines started the "top kill"
maneuver around 1 p.m. CDT. Oil has been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico since the
Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. The procedure involves
pumping thousands of pounds of heavy fluids into a five-story stack of pipes in an effort to
clog the well and stop the leak. (Source: New York Times, 05/26/10)

BP to try top kill Wednesday
BP engineers say they have the equipment in place and on Wednesday will try to stem the
flow of oil with the “top kill” method - pumping heavy drilling mud into a massive device on
top of the gushing well. The top kill has proven successful in aboveground wells, but has
never before been tried a mile beneath the sea. (Source: AP, 05/25/10) The company is
also looking at contingency plans should the top kill fail, including replacing the damaged
riser pipe at the well, an option that would be available by the end of May. (Source:
Bloomberg, 05/25/10) The April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers. Oil
has flowed into the Gulf of Mexico ever since. The oil slick has penetrated the marshes of
Louisiana.

Shrimp season opening gets new test
BILOXI, Miss. - The opening of the brown shrimp season in Mississippi waters should occur
within the first two weeks of June. William Walker, executive director of the state Department
of Marine Resources, was given authority to open the season when test trawls yield 68
shrimp per pound. Walker said he has added an additional test for the opening of shrimp
season: testing shrimp for petroleum hydrocarbons. The test for petroleum hydrocarbons in
shrimp tissue is a first, he said. "We think our seafood is just fine, We want to verify that," he
said. Mississippi shrimp landings in 2008 were valued at $8.6 million. (Source: Mississippi
Press, 05/24/10)

New attempt to stop leak upcoming
BP will try this week to dump heavy mud on the well leaking in the Gulf of Mexico, but
whether that will work remains to be seen. Some 6 million gallons of crude has flowed into
the Gulf, though some scientists think the amount is much higher. Interior Secretary Ken
Salazar said he’s not completely confident BP knows what it's doing. The spill's impact now
stretches across 150 miles, from Dauphin Island, Ala. to Grand Isle, La., with 65 miles of
Louisiana oiled. BP said Sunday that the amount of oil siphoned by the mile-long tube
inserted into the well had sharply dropped over a 24-hour period. (Source: AP, 05/23/10)

Oil leak update
It will be early next week before BP attempts to use heavy mud to stem the flow of oil into the
Gulf of Mexico. The method, called “top kill,” involves pumping heavy drilling mud with twice
the density of water into the well. The well has been spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico since
the rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. In other oil-related events: booms filled with hair
will not be used to keep oil from the shoreline because they get water soaked and sink; BP
says it has no alternative dispersant to use after the EPA told it to find a less toxic
dispersant; BP, a day after acknowledging more oil is seeping into the water than has been
reported, backed off and said estimates are not taking into account the gas that’s mixed in
with the oil. (Source: Multiple, 05/22/10)

EPA wants less toxic dispersant
The Environmental Protection Agency told BP late Wednesday that the company has 24
hours to pick a less toxic form of chemical dispersants to break up its oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico, according to government sources familiar with the decision. It must apply the new
form of dispersants within 72 hours of submitting the list of alternatives. The move suggests
federal officials are concerned that the unprecedented use of dispersants could pose a
significant threat to the Gulf of Mexico's marine life. (Source: Washington Post, 05/20/10)

Portion of oil enters loop
Federal scientists confirmed that a small portion of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico has
entered the powerful loop current that will take it around the tip of Florida and up the east
coast. The oil slick from the leaking well has stayed away from shorelines so far, save for
parts of Louisiana. In a bid to stem the flow, officials from BP plan to shoot drilling mud into
the Deepwater Horizon well, perhaps Sunday. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, Sun Herald,
05/20/10) An explosion April 20 at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and
left an uncapped well spewing oil. About 19 percent of Gulf is now closed to fishing. Several
methods to stem the flow have failed, with the exception of the insertion of a siphon pipe that’
s now capturing a portion of the oil.

Amount of oil recovered increasing
BP now says it’s siphoning about 40 percent of the 5,000 barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf
of Mexico. The mile-long siphon tube was put in place over the weekend. The oil rig
exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil has spewed into the water since then, despite
multiple attempts to stem the flow. The tube is the first effort to have any measure of
success. (Source: Reuters, AP via Mississippi Press, 05/18/10) Meanwhile, concerns are
increasing that the oil will be picked up by the Gulf loop current and bring oil to sensitive
areas in the Florida Keys and east coast of Florida. (Source: Multiple, including Los Angeles
Times, 05/17/10)

NGI holds conference next week
The Northern Gulf Institute Annual Conference is scheduled for May 18 to 20 at the
Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Ala. The conference will include updates on
the activities and direction of the institute, with an emphasis on research presentations by
NGI project teams. One of the hot topics that will be discussed will be the oil spill in the Gulf
of Mexico. NGI, a NOAA cooperative institute, focuses on research about the northern Gulf
of Mexico ecosystem. Led by Mississippi State University, partners are the University of
Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University, Florida State University and the Dauphin
Islana Sea Lab in Mobile. It has offices at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Source: NGI agenda,
05/13/10)

NOAA NE fisheries director sent to Gulf
NOAA is sending one of its top fisheries science directors to the Gulf to lead its effort to
assess, test and report findings about risks posed to fish in the Gulf of Mexico by
contaminants from the BP oil spill and clean-up activities. Nancy Thompson, director of
NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, will go to Pascagoula, Miss., to lead NOAA’s
response team. Thompson will work closely with Bonnie Ponwith, director at the agency’s
Southeast Fisheries Science Center, who is leading an intensified effort to monitor and
assess the spill’s effects on important species in the Gulf of Mexico. Thompson’s arrival will
allow Ponwith to focus on both her oil spill duties as well as high-priority regional issues in
fisheries management, including leading stock assessments for red snapper stocks and
working with the Gulf, Caribbean and South Atlantic fishery management councils. (Source:
NOAA, 05/11/10)

Feds probe dispersants; dead wildlife checked
Federal officials said Tuesday that they are stepping up contaminant testing of the Gulf of
Mexico's marine life to monitor the potential buildup of petroleum compounds and the
chemical dispersants used to break up oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. Testing will be
used to determine if Gulf seafood is safe for human consumption. The dispersants are being
used to break up the oil gushing from the well. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 05/12/10)
Wildlife officials are investigating whether the spill had anything to do with the recent deaths
of six dolphins in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. But one local expert said six deaths
this time of year over such a large area containing thousands of dolphins could be natural
and that initial inspection of the bodies has showed no oil contamination. (Source: Sun
Herald, 05/11/12)

Report: Natural gas in broken well increasing
In the last few days, the spill from the well in the Gulf of Mexico has begun to change.
Sources told ABC News the amount of natural gas coming out of the well is increasing, which
could mean less oil spewing into the ocean. BP, trying to control the slick, confirmed the
report. When satellite images of the oil slick from May 1 are compared with the slick today, it
appears smaller. (Source: ABC News, 05/11/10) It started with the April 20 explosion of a
drilling rig, where 11 workers died. Since then oil has gushed from the well. Efforts to cap it
with a dome failed when ice crystals formed on the dome. A smaller one was placed on the
ocean floor Tuesday and will be placed over the leak Thursday. Work continues on a relief
well. Other steps that may be taken include forcing pieces of tires, golf balls and rubber
debris into the top of the well to plug it. BP is now using oil dispersing chemicals near the
leak, but the EPA admits the ecological effects are not fully known. The oil is moving in a
more westward direction, becoming more of a threat to Louisiana.

Four fisheries stock now rebuilt
Four fisheries stocks, including Atlantic swordfish, have now been rebuilt to healthy levels,
according to a report issued Monday to Congress from NOAA’s Fisheries Service. For the
first time since the report was issued in 1997, no stocks were added to the overfishing list. In
Status of U.S. Fisheries, NOAA scientists reported that 85 percent of the stocks examined,
212 of 250, were free from overfishing. “By working with our regional fishery councils and
commercial and recreational fishermen, we are getting closer every year to ending
overfishing in our waters,” said Eric Schwaab, NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s
Fisheries Service. “With annual catch limits coming into effect this year, we expect our
progress to accelerate.” (Source: NOAA, 05/10/10)

Sea Grant consortium to undergo review
The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium will undergo a scheduled four-year review
June 8-9 at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on Dauphin Island, Ala., and at the International
Trade Center in Mobile, Ala. A federal site review team will review and discuss MASGC
management and organization, stakeholder engagement and collaborative network/National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration activities. The mission of MASGC is to enhance the
sustainable use and conservation of ocean and coastal resources in Alabama and
Mississippi. Members include Auburn University, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Jackson State
University, Mississippi State University, the University of Alabama, University of Alabama at
Birmingham, University of Mississippi, University of Southern Mississippi and University of
South Alabama (Source: MASGC, 05/07/10)

Ice crystals crush dome hope
The best hope for sharply cutting back the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico has
hit a problem. The 100-ton containment dome had to be removed from its resting spot atop
the oil leak when ice crystals formed and began clogging the opening that would have
brought the oil to ships on the surface. BP officials are working on a solution, but say it will
be Monday before a decision is made on the next step. (Sources: Multiple, including AP,
New York Times, 05/08/10) BP operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico
which sank April 20 after an explosion that left 11 people missing and presumed dead. The
underwater well has been spewing oil since then. The oil threatens to harm the sensitive
beaches and marsh lands along the Gulf Coast. Some of the oil has washed ashore in
Louisiana and Alabama.

Containment dome on well
A giant concrete-and-steel funnel has been placed over a blown-out oil well at the bottom of
the Gulf of Mexico in a bid to contain oil leaking from it. BP said it might take up to 12 hours
for the containment device to settle in place, but that everything appeared to be going as
planned. It’s hoped it will be able to collect as much as 85 percent of the oil and begin
funneling it to ships above by Monday. (Source: BBC, 05/07/10) BP operated the Deepwater
Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico which sank April 20 after an explosion that left 11 people
missing and presumed dead. The underwater well has been spewing oil since then.

NOAA extends closure to fishing
NOAA Fisheries Service has modified the boundaries of the closed fishing area to coincide
with the current extent of oil pollution stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion
and spill. All commercial and recreational fishing is prohibited in the closed area that is
slightly less than 4.5 percent of the Gulf of Mexico federal waters. The closure is in effect for
10 days to May 17. (Source: Sun Herald, 05/07/10) Meanwhile, that four-story containment
dome that is designed to capture much of the gushing oil and bring it to ships on the surface
is now on site and is being lowered to the gushing well. That work is expected to last into the
weekend. (Source: CNN, 05/07/10)

Bait fish turns up dead
PASCAGOULA, Miss. - Thousands of dead bait fish surfaced in the two waterways, but
officials are still waiting to find out if the deaths are related to the oil spill. A resident who
noticed the odor Tuesday and Wednesday reported it to city officials, who alerted the
Bureau of Marine Resources and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. “I
don’t think we can automatically assume it has anything to do with the spill,” Pascagoula
Mayor Robbie Maxwell said. (Source: Sun Herald, 05/06/10). BP operated the Deepwater
Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico which sank April 20 after an explosion that left 11 people
missing and presumed dead. The underwater well has been spewing oil since then.

One oil leak capped; dome near
The Coast Guard says BP PLC has capped one of three leaks at a deepwater oil well, but
the work is not expected to reduce the overall flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. BP officials
have said that fewer leaks will make it easier to drop a containment box on the breach. The
well has been spewing at least 210,000 gallons per day since an April 20 explosion at a rig
50 miles off Louisiana. (Source: AP via Washington Post, 05/05/10) The containment box
should be arriving Wednesday in the form of a specially built giant concrete-and-steel box
designed to siphon the oil away. Crews for contractor Wild Well Control were putting the
finishing touches Tuesday on the 100-ton containment dome. BP spokesman John Curry
said it would be deployed on the seabed by Thursday. (Source: AP via Mobile Press-
Register, 05/05/10) In Gulfport, Miss., wildlife officials say that at least 35 endangered sea
turtles washed up on Gulf coast beaches, but it's not clear what’s killing them. Moby Solangi,
director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, said Tuesday necropsies had
been completed on the turtles and found no oil. (Source: AP via WLOX-TV, 05/04/10)

Ground broken for center
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - A groundbreaking was held today for the $9 million
Mississippi State Science and Technology Center at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center.
It will be the new home of the multi-university Northern Gulf Institute. The 40,000 square-foot
building will also provide space for staff and researchers from MSU's Geosystems Research
Institute, other university research units and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration's National Coastal Data Development Center. NGI, a NOAA cooperative
institute, focuses on research about the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. Member
organizations are MSU, the University of Southern Mississippi, Louisiana State University,
Florida State University and Dauphin Island Sea Lab. (Source: NGI, 05/03/10)

Chemicals reducing amount of oil
BP is reporting that it’s been able to reduce the amount of oil reaching the surface from an
underwater oil leak by using chemicals at the gusher. CEO Tony Hayward said on NBC
“Today” show that BP is injecting dispersant chemicals into the oil as it pours out of the
undersea well. (Source: AP via Sun Herald, 05/03/10) BP Plc operated the Deepwater
Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico which sank April 20 after an explosion that left 11 people
missing and presumed dead. The underwater well has been spewing oil since the accident.
BP hopes to stop the gusher in a week through a containment dome.

Fishing closed due to spill
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is closing commercial and
recreational fishing from Louisiana to parts of Florida because of the oil spill in the Gulf of
Mexico. The closure begins immediately and will last for at least 10 days. The fishing ban
extends between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River to waters off
Florida’s Pensacola Bay. (Source: AP via Sun Herald, 05/02/10)

Dome over leak possible
The chairman of BP, Lamar McKay, told ABC’s “This Week” that he can’t say when the well
might be plugged, but said he believes a dome that could be placed over the well is
expected to be deployed in six to eight days. The dome has been made and workers are
finishing the plan to get it deployed, McKay said. (Source: AP via Press-Register, 05/02/10)
In Gulfport, Miss., the state director of the Mississippi chapter of the Sierra Club, Louie
Miller, described the spill as "America's Chernobyl" in a news conference Saturday, a
reference to the power plant explosion in 1986 that resulted in a plume of radioactive fallout
across a large area of Europe. (Source: Mississippi Press, 05/02/10) But count Rep. Gene
Taylor, D-Miss., as one who doesn’t see it quite that way. After a three-hour flight over the
Gulf of Mexico Saturday, Taylor concluded, "This isn't Armageddon." (Source: Mississippi
Press, 05/02/10) BP Plc operated the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico which
sank April 20 after an explosion that left 11 people missing and presumed dead. The
underwater well has been spewing oil since the accident.


APRIL 2010

Omega Protein temporarily moves ships
HOUSTON - Omega Protein Corp., producer of Omega-3 fish oil and specialty fish meal
products, has implemented an Incident Response Plan for its Moss Point, Miss., facility to
minimize effects from the oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The
plan is intended to minimize vessel downtime and business interruptions. The company
believes the oil slick temporarily could effect on its ability to operate in the fishing grounds
east of the Mississippi River Delta, near its Moss Point facility. Starting April 30, Omega
Protein will relocate its nine Moss Point fishing vessels and three carry vessels to fishing
grounds on the west side of the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana. This relocation is
expected to last up to four weeks. (Source: PRNewswire via MarketWatch, 04/29/10)

Oil slick threatens fisheries, tourism
Fishermen and tourism businesses in the northeast Gulf of Mexico dread the nightmare
possibility that a huge oil spill could wreck their livelihoods if it reaches shore. The oyster
season is ending and shrimp season is set to begin. As the Coast Guard and oil company
BP struggle to contain the slick from a blown-out well off Louisiana, states are deploying fire-
retardant booms and other measures to protect their coastlines. The slick threatens the
eastern shores of Louisiana and could also affect coastal waters in Mississippi, Alabama
and northwest Florida. The slick could also hit the tourism sector that is vital to Gulf Coast
economies. (Source: Reuters, 04/29/10)

Dolphin population rebounds
Nearly five years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, dolphins have re-
establishing their homes there, based on the research of a University of Southern
Mississippi professor and his students. The findings of Dr. Stan Kuczaj, professor of
psychology and director of the Southern Miss Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition
Laboratory, were featured in an article published in Marine Mammal Science. A dramatic
increase in the number of dolphin calves in the Mississippi Sound were documented by
Kuczaj’s team two years following the Aug. 29, 2005 storm. Kuczaj’s team believes the
decrease in commercial and recreational fishing following Katrina may have resulted in
increased fish populations for the dolphins to prey upon, which in turn could have resulted in
more successful births. The researchers also found that dolphin foraging is sometimes
interrupted by boats, and so the reduction of boat traffic following Katrina may have allowed
the dolphins to be more efficient hunters. (Source: University of Southern Mississippi,
04/23/10)

Science center signing ceremony set
GULFPORT, Miss. - A signing ceremony for the contract to build a 72,000 square foot state-
of-the-art science center near NASA's Stennis Space Center will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m.
at the Hancock Bank Board Room in downtown Gulfport. Roy Anderson Corp. will start
construction May 1. The center to be located along Interstate 10 near the Louisiana-
Mississippi state line is expected to be a big tourist draw. Infinity is designed to highlight the
activities at Stennis Space Center and inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers
in the fields of earth, ocean and space science. (Source: Infinity Science Center Inc.,
04/05/10)


MARCH 2010

Sperm whale subject of study
PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Minerals Management Service and National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration biologists leave next week for the last of three missions in the
northern Gulf of Mexico to study the sperm whale. They’ll leave Monday from Singing River
Island aboard the NOAA ship Pisces. Little is known about the food source for the largest
mammal in the Gulf of Mexico. The Sperm Whale Acoustic Prey Study is being conducted on
the 208-foot-long Pisces, built by VT Halter Marine in Moss Point. (Source: Mississippi
Press, 03/06/10)

Fisheries conservationist of year named
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. - University of Southern Mississippi fisheries biologist Read Hendon
received the 2009 Mississippi Wildlife Federation Fisheries Conservationist of the Year
award for his stewardship of the state's marine fisheries resources at a Feb. 27 awards
banquet in Jackson, Miss. Hendon, assistant director of the Center for Fisheries Research
and Development at Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, was recognized as
a key member of the "emerging generation" of Mississippi fisheries researchers, educators
and managers. GCRL focuses on research on coastal and marine resources, development
of new marine technologies and the education of future scientists and citizens. (Source:
University of Southern Mississippi, 03/03/10)

Director of Marine Mammals Studies named
GULFPORT, Miss. - Dr. Sharon Walker, who headed the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center
and Aquarium in Biloxi until it was destroyed by Katrina in 2005, on April 1 becomes director
of education and outreach programs at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport.
Walker will help in the institute’s transformation into a family attraction that merges the
entertainment value of Marine Life, a Katrina casualty, and educational programs of the J. L.
Scott. (Source: Sun Herald, 03/02/10)


FEBRUARY 2010

Campus getting $7.6M science building
LONG BEACH, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus will be
getting a new $7.6 million science building that will feature 33,580 square feet of biology and
chemistry laboratories, a marine science laboratory, faculty offices, research space and
classrooms. Construction for the facility, on the northwest corner of the campus, is
scheduled to begin in fall 2010 and is expected to be ready for occupancy by spring 2012.
(Source: USM, 02/10/10)


JANUARY 2010

Oceanographers help in Haiti
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Oceanographers from the Naval Meteorology and
Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center are heavily involved in relief efforts in
Haiti. Stennis-based personnel are conducting hydrographic surveys of ports of interest
around Haiti to determine navigational hazards for ships bringing aid to Haiti. Personnel from
the command’s Naval Oceanographic Office have conducted airborne lidar surveys of Port-
au-Prince using the CHARTS system aboard a Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft. Other NAVO
personnel are aboard the naval oceanographic 329-foot survey ship USNS Henson. Source:
NNS, 01/22/10)

Aqua Green taps into high-growth field
STONE COUNTY, Miss. - A company that’s been operating an aquaculture facility in Stone
County for the past two years already has its sights set on growing to meet the demand for
seafood. Richard Cuneo, sales and marketing manager for Aqua Green LLC, said the
company hopes to eventually establish two or three additional facilities in Perkinston that
would push production to as much as 3 million pounds a year. (Source: Alliance Insight,
01/10)