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Interdisciplinary Seminar: Wenjing Liu
March 18, 2019 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
An interdisciplinary seminar from UNC Marine Sciences graduate student, Wenjing Liu. Presented by the UNC-CH Department of Marine Sciences and UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS). The main location of this event will be in seminar room 222 at IMS in Morehead City, NC. The seminar will be streamed live to room G201 on the ground floor of Murray Hall on UNC-CH campus in Chapel Hill, NC. This event will be held on Monday, March 18th, at 12:20pm.
Seminar Title: Responses to oil spills: the roles of humans and microbes
Abstract: Oil spills can bring extensive damage to coastal and marine environments. Both humans and microbes respond to these disasters afterwards, as demonstrated in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As for human responses, timely countermeasures were deployed to contain, disperse and remove oils. Operational forecasting model of surface oil trajectories was critical to the allocation of resources and opportune direction of response assets. The frequent re-initialization of oil locations could effectively limit the model error growth by combining satellite data with a model. The errors could be further limited by using ensemble models instead of any individual one. According to the predictive trajectories, mechanical devices and dispersants were utilized to clean up leaking oils. Meanwhile, microbes like bacteria responded to oil spills by biodegradation, removing oils from the water column. The major hydrocarbon degraders showed a clear taxa alteration over time during the Deepwater Horizon incident, which was controlled by changes in the hydrocarbon supply. Microbes could also remove oils by forming “marine oil snow”. To some degree the bacteria contributed to the formation of mucus webs, which was essential to develop the marine oil snow. Though humans and microbes endeavored to clean up oils, the oils couldn’t be removed completely from the environment. Strict regulations can help prevent oil spills, but they can also decelerate the economic growth. To choose environment or economy, is a question for everyone to contemplate.