UGA Research Team Headed back to Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Site

March 27, 2014

A team of researchers from the University of Georgia will be returning to the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil well.

UGA Marine Scientist Mandy Joye was one of the first on scene back in 2010 documenting the impact of the massive spill on sea life and the environment.

Joye is expecting that her team will not see any real improvement regarding the sea life.

“I think there has been a little bit of recovery, I hope I am wrong. I hope we see teeming communities with large diversity and activity running around like they normally do running away from the Alvin, and not just sitting there looking at us like zombies”, said Joye.

The Alvin, as referenced, is the United States Navy’s research submarine.

Joye said only now will we begin to see what the real impact is from the 2010 oil spill.

“Given what we and others have documented since 2010, I think we are just beginning to see what the real consequences of this oil spill are in terms of the ecosystem and its ecology”, explained Joye.

Soon after the disaster, when observing the area, Joye said the animals clearly were not acting natural by any means.

“There was something in that environment that had changed and altered their behavior”, said Joye. “It’s very likely, given what has been published, that it was likely oil exposure, and the question is how long do those effects last.”

Dr. Joye says no one has visited the area in a submersible since 2010, so she is eager to evaluate the health of the sea floor and sea life, first hand.