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Woods Hole vessel Studying Oil Plumes in Gulf of Mexico

A multidisciplinary team of investigators from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution embarked June 17 on a twelve-day research effort in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the R/V Endeavor, conducting three simultaneous projects funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) “RAPID” program.

The projects aim to characterize subsurface oil plumes extending from the Deepwater Horizon well head using novel technology and the latest in biogeochemical techniques. The research should help answer looming questions about the fate of oil released into the water, examining the physical extent, chemical composition, and biological impact of subsea plumes.

"The project has been implemented in a remarkably short period of time, deploying some of the most advanced technology available for underwater chemical sampling, and underwater autonomous vehicles," said Phillip Taylor, acting director of NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences. "The effort is another example of research scientists stepping up quickly to address the crucial and challenging questions about the fate and environmental consequences of the spilled oil."

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