Deployment: OC468-02

Chief Scientist: 
Joseph Montoya (Georgia Institute of Technology, GA Tech)
Platform Type:
Start Date: 
End Date: 
Gulf of Mexico

To support additional work related to the Deepwater Horizon well leak oil spill, the Oceanus operations will be coordinated with those aboard R/V Cape Hatteras.

Chief Scientist pre-cruise update May 17 ,2010 *************************
Over the last few days, we've rethought our fall cruise as it's become evident that much of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak isn't reaching the surface and that the 5000 bbl/day official release rate estimate could be low by an order of magnitude or more. The bottom line is that an awful lot of oil is getting into the water column and we really don't know much about where it's going or what it's impact is/will be on ecosystems in the Gulf. We discussed this situation with Dave Garrison on Friday and he was very supportive of us changing the focus of our cruise and using it to survey and assess the spread and impact of the oil. Dave asked us to try to assemble a team that could attack the problem of the physical spread of the oil and its impact through the food web. We're working on this but wanted to let you know of this change in plan and to start a discussion of what the revised cruise plan would look like. Our current thinking is that we would make use of the two ships in complementary ways:
* The Oceanus will focus on the vertical distribution of oil and its impact on phytoplankton and zooplankton. We envision running a series of stations along a roughly E-W transect along the slope and one or more transects running out into deep water. We would be using a CTD-rosette system to sample the water column and both meter nets and the mocness to sample zooplankton. We'll also want to use a LADCP system to measure flows in deep plumes of oil. We're talking to Andreas Thurnherr at LDEO, who has experience in these measurements and expect that he'll have someone on board to carry them out. We would carry out deck incubations to assess productivity, nutrient dynamics, and toxicity of hydrocarbons in the water column. Finally, we would like to take box and gravity cores at selected stations.
* The Cape Hatteras will focus on mapping the spatial extent of oil in the upper water column through a broad survey of the northern Gulf. This would involve mostly towed instrumentation and in-line analyses complemented by CTD profiles and net tows at selected stations. A limited amount of experimental work would be done on this

Planned science activities include CTD casts, mocness tows, meter net tows, surface pumping for collecting large volumes of water, deck incubations, floating sediment traps, moored sediment trap (1), multicoring (if no multicore then box and gravity core), camera deployment, radioisotopes, possible small boat ops for personnel transfer between R/V Cape Hatteras and sample collecting.

Additional information:
WHOI cruise planning synopsis
Figure of Station Locations
Cruise information and original data are available from the NSF R2R data catalog.