"April 20 Explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling
platform kills 11 workers and injures 17. Oil and natural gas begin
gushing from the Macondo well at the seafloor, 1,500 meters (almost a
mile) below the surface.
23 Platform sinks. BP estimates the rate of oil flowing into the
Gulf at 1,000 barrels (or 42,000 gallons) per day (BPD).
28 NOAA releases first official government flow rate estimate of
5,000 BPD (210,000 gallons).
May 1 BP officials consult with WHOI scientists and engineers about
blowout preventer, flow rate measurements, and other aspects of the
19 WHOI scientist Rich Camilli testifies to the U.S. House
Subcommittee on Energy and Environment about using acoustic techniques
to measure the flow of fluid out of the Macondo well.
WHOI scientists Susan Avery, Judy McDowell, John Farrington, and
Chris Reddy participate in a meeting about the crisis called by the
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
31 WHOI scientists Rich Camilli and Andy Bowen measure rate of oil
and gas flowing out of the Macondo well using acoustic sensors mounted
on a remotely operated vehicle. See Page 20.
June 2-11 WHOI researchers Brian Guest, Dan Torres, Marshall
Swartz, Melissa Patrician, and Glen Gawarkiewicz provide equipment and
expertise to help NOAA collect water samples from the NOAA ship Thomas
7 WHOI oceanographer Breck Owens begins monitoring Gulf currents
using a Spray glider. See Page 6.
10 Chris Reddy testifies before the U.S. House Subcommittee on
Energy and Environment about human exposure to petrochemicals and the
fate of oil in the environment.
12 WHOI scientists Cabell Davis and Nick Loomis begin first of
three cruises deploying HoloPOD to image plankton and oil droplets in
the Gulf. See Page 11.
15 Chris Reddy testifies before U.S. House Subcommittee on Insular
Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife about the federal capacity to respond to
Federal government updates its flow rate estimate to 35,000 to
60,000 BPD (1,470,000 to 2,520,000 gallons).
17 Reddy, Camilli, Van Mooy, and technical staff from WHOI depart
on the R/V Endeavor to begin research funded under NSF Rapid Response
Research Program. See Page 28.
19 WHOI scientist Ben Van Mooy measures Gulf oxygen levels to
assess potential threat of hypoxic "dead zones." See Page 46.
20-21 WHOI researchers Chris Reddy, Rich Camilli, and Sean Sylva
collect sample of oil and gas directly from the Macondo well, using
Isobaric Gas-Tight samplers developed by WHOI scientist Jeff Seewald.
See Page 24.
25 Sample collected from well on 6/21 delivered by Coast Guard to
WHOI for extraction and analysis.
Sediment traps placed by WHOI scientist Chris German in September
2009 are recovered and new traps placed in an ongoing study to look for
changes in the ocean after the oil spill. See Page 40
27 The WHOI-operated deep-sea vehicle Sentry, equipped with TETHYS,
completes surveys to map underwater plume of petrochemicals. WHOI team
collects water from plume for analysis with 2-D GCxGC gas
chromatography. See Pages 16 and 28.
July 13 Chris Reddy testifies before the National Commission on the
BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling about using
dispersants to combat spills.
15 WHOI researchers Sean Sylva and Jeff Seewald extract oil and
natural gas from Isobaric Gas-Tight sampler at WHOI. See Page 8.
Temporary cap is successfully placed on the well, stopping the flow
of oil into the Gulf.
mid-July WHOI geochemist Elizabeth Kujawinski begins using mass
spectrometer to detect dispersants in Gulf water samples. See Page 14.
Aug. 19 who, scientists publish first peer-reviewed paper on DWH
research in Science and hold press conference at National Press Club.
See Page 28.
21 Expedition aboard WHOI-operated ship Oceanus led by Georgia Tech
scientists studies plankton in the Gulf.
29 Spray glider is recovered after confirming separation of eddy
from the Gulf Loop Current. See Page 6.
Sept. 1 WHOI biologist Ann Tarrant begins study on longterm
biological impacts of oil and dispersants. See Page 44.
mid-Sept. Chris Reedy becomes temporary advisor to the Unified
Command, the consortium of federal agencies and BP that coordinated
responses to the oil spill.
19 Macondo well declared dead after relief wells reduce pressure on
27 Rich Camilli testifies before the National Commission about WHOI
underwater plume mapping and flow rate measurements. He presents a
preliminary estimate of 59,000 BPD leaking from the Macondo well on May
28 WHOI scientist emeritus John Farrington testifies before the
National Commission about the 1979 lxtoc l oil spill in the Gulf and
offers scientific recommendations on Deepwater Horizon.
Oct. 14 WHOI scientists Chris German and Tim Shank, with Chuck
Fisher of Penn State, begin cruise using ROV Jason to examine deepwater
coral and cold seep habitats potentially affected by the spill.
Nov. 8 Expedition aboard WHOI ship Atlantis led by University of
Georgia scientists begins using deep-sea submersible Alvin to survey the
deep-sea environment in the Gulf.
Dec. 7 Chris German, Tim Shank, and Chuck Fisher, aboard the
research vessel Atlantis, use Alvin and Sentry to study deep-sea
habitats in the Gulf. See Page 40.
Jan. 11 National Commission issues its final report.
Mar. 9 Cabell Davis embarks on one-month, 3,000-mile cruise with
digital autonomous video plankton recorder towed from R/V Oceanus to
assess biological impacts of oil in the Gulf. See Page 11.
10 The Flow Rate Technical Group, a specially convened group of
scientists that included Rich Camilli, issues final report on the rate
of oil flowing into the Gulf. The total estimated release is 4.9 million
barrels of oil.
Studies on Deepwater Horizon Published by WHOI Scientists
Several WHOI laboratory groups, with expertise spanning
engineering, chemistry, and biology, have published collaborative and
complementary research on diverse issues concerning the spill. Research
is ongoing with further studies submitted for publication in scientific
Tracking Hydrocarbon Plume Transport and Biodegradation at
Richard Camilli, Christopher M. Reddy, Dana R. Yoerger, Benjamin A.
S. Van Mooy, Michael V. Jakuba, James C. Kinsey, Cameron P. McIntyre,
Sean P. Sylva, and James V. Maloney. Published online Aug. 19, 2010, in
Fate of Dispersants Associated with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Elizabeth B. Kujawinski, Melissa C. Kido Soule, David L. Valentine,
Angela K. Boysen, Krista Longnecker, and Molly C. Redmond. Published
online Jan. 26, 2011, in Environmental Science & Technology
Composition and Fate of Gas and Oil Released to the Water Column
During the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Christopher M. Reddy, J. Samuel
Arey, Jeffrey S. Seewald, Sean R Sylva, Karin L Lemkau, Robert K.
Nelson, Catherine A. Carmichael, Cameron P. McIntyre, Judith Fenwick, G.
Todd Ventura, Benjamin A. S. Van Mooy, and Richard Camilli. Published
online July 1, 2011, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Rapid Microbial Respiration of Oil from the Deepwater Horizon Spill
in Offshore Surface Waters of the Gulf of Mexico
Bethanie R. Edwards, Christopher M. Reddy, Richard Camilli,
Catherine A. Carmichael, Krista Longnecker, and Benjamin A. S. Van Mooy.
Published online Aug. 2, 2011, in Environmental Research Letters.
Acoustic Measurement of the Deepwater Horizon Macondo Well Flow
Richard Camilli, Daniela Di Iorio, Andrew Bowen, Christopher M.
Reddy, Alexandra H. Techet, Dana R. Yoerger, Louis L. Whitcomb, Jeffrey
S. Seewald, Sean R Sylva, Judith Fenwick. Published online Sept. B,
2011, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.