(Please contact the meeting organizers with questions)

Near Field Modeling
Sunday, January 26, 1-6pm
Renaissance Hotel (Schooner Room)
Organizers: Scott Socolofsky, WK Dewar

Session Description (Click for description)

In this session we would like to bring together those interested in the near field dynamics of subsea oil spills, including academic and industrial researchers, model users and developers, and federal agencies. Based on the previous Near Field Modeling Workshop in Berkeley, California, in November 2012, and the continuing discussions of the Near Field Modeling Listserv, we will concentrate on the five topic areas:

  1. Initial droplet size distribution.
  2. Plume models (CFD and Integral Approaches).
  3. Hydrodynamics coupling of near field models with the local ocean circulation (including interfacing with CFD ocean models)
  4. Oil and gas coupling of near field models with far field transport models (generally, Lagrangian Particle Tracking models)
  5. Bubble and droplet scale fate modeling (equations of state, dissolution, and simple biological decay)

Our format is flexible. We will have presentation equipment available for speakers to show their most recent results but in a more informal way than will be done during the regular meeting. Then we envision groups forming up by interest for more in-depth conversation and discussion. This meeting should last approximately 5 hours, from 1pm to 6pm.

Please let the session organizers know of your interest and intent to attend by Oct. 15, the regular abstract submission deadline for the GOMRI meeting. A statement about your interest in an oral presentation along with a brief description of your presentation will allow the organizers to propose an agenda.


Advancing Deep Sea Science through Long-term Observatories and Development of In-Situ Technology and Instrumentation: A Tribute to Ray Highsmith
Sunday, January 26, 1-6pm
Renaissance Hotel (Mobile Bay Ballroom II & III)

Organizer: Samantha Joye

Session Description (Click for description)

A session to honor the contributions of Ray Highsmith to Deep Sea science

Dr. Raymond Carl Highsmith (1941-2013) was a father, family man, mentor, an advocate for marine science, and a scientist driven to advance deep sea instrumentation and technology development. His career started in the tropics, studying processes that shape coral reefs. He migrated to Alaska where he examined links between Arctic amphipod communities and gray whale populations. He led a major research program to study the impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, started the West Coast and Polar Regions Undersea Research Center, and transformed the Kistna Bay Laboratory, which was renamed in his honor in 2008. In 2005, he moved to the University of Mississippi to serve as director of the National Institute for Undersea Science Technology. In 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, he repurposed a research cruise to study the incident, which led ultimately to the formation of “Ecosystems Impact of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf” (ECOGIG) consortium funded by GoMRI. In the past two decades, Ray had three scientific passions; to help young scientists get started; to advance science in new different directions through the development of novel sensors, platforms, and techniques; and support long-term time-series data collection in the deep sea. This special secession focuses on Ray’s passions, bringing together young scientists who advance science through state-of-the-art technology and mid-career scientists that benefited from Ray’s support, showcasing novel technologies that have changed the way science is conducted in the deep sea, and by highlighting some of the long-term data sets that Ray’s support helped establish.

Click here for more information about the session schedule and abstracts. (Updated Jan 22)

For additional information or to express interest in attending/presenting please contact Samantha Joy. .


Dispersants: What have we learned, and opportunities for improvement to better inform decision making relevant to dispersants and their use?
Sunday, January 26, 1:00-5:00 pm
Renaissance Hotel (Grand Bay Ballroom)
Organizer: GoMRI Research Board

Session Description (Click for description)

The Center for Spills in the Environment from the University of New Hampshire will facilitate a forum on dispersants and their use during oil spills. The forum will begin with overview presentations on the nature of dispersants, how they work, information on actual deployments, as well as what is known about their impacts (e.g., acute/chronic toxicity). Two panels will discuss what we have learned about dispersants and their use, what research is on-going, and how we can better inform decisions about future deployment. The panels will include representatives of governmental agencies, industry, NGOs and academics.


• Response, Effects and Damage Assessment (associated with dispersants and dispersed oil);

• Recovery and Restoration (how are recovery and restoration is different if dispersants are used during a response); and

• Lessons Learned from DWH about Dispersants Use; Questions that remain; New frontiers with respect to dispersant use.

Mark your calendar and plan to attend this important event in conjunction with the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference.

Facilitated by: Nancy Kinner, Center for Spills in the Environment, University of New Hampshire

For more information:; 603.862.1545  


GoMRI Hydrocarbons Analysis QA/QC Workshop
Sunday, January 26, 5:00-6:00pm
Renaissance Hotel (Grand Bay Ballroom)
Organizer: GoMRI Research Board

Session Description (Click for description)

Experienced Analysts, New Analysts and All Interested Welcome. Quality matters! Analysis of organic compounds is difficult: There are millions of individual organic compounds, and many of them are labile when exposed, e.g., to molecular oxygen and microbial activity. This applies to both target compounds and standard reference materials (SRMs). There is a particular need for Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) to insure valid data are produced.

GoMRI research involves hydrocarbon analysis of unweathered and weathered oil, sediments, and biological tissues by a number of laboratories. This is a unique chance for a concerted QA/QC effort in hydrocarbon analysis. GoMRI management is willing to support such an effort, but the initiative and execution should be developed by GoMRI researchers.

This workshop seeks to

  • encourage existing QA/QC programs in hydrocarbon analysis,
  • motivate those who have thought about QA/QC in hydrocarbon analysis but set it aside for (alleged) lack of previous experience, time, capacity or other reasons,
  • support those who can be convinced that QA/QC in hydrocarbon analysis is important but do not yet know how to exercise it.

DRAFT Agenda

1) Welcome – Chuck Wilson, CSO GoMRI, 5 min.

2) Early history of QA/QC procedures and interlaboratory intercomparison exercises for hydrocarbon analysis – John Farrington, Jürgen Rullkötter 10 min.

3) NOAA National Status & Trends and other recent programs – Terry Wade, 10 min.

4) Relevant SRMs (NIST), potential activities for the future – Steve Wise, Chris Reddy, 10 min.

Open Discussion – Chuck Wilson, moderator.


C-MEDS/Metcalf Institute Oil Spill Science Seminar for Journalists
Monday, January 27: 5:30-7:00pm
Tuesday, January 28, 4:00-6:00pm
Wednesday, January 29, 4:00-6:00pm
Renaissance Hotel (Schooner Room)
Organizer: Sunshine Menenzes

Session Description (Click for description)

The Consortium for the Molecular Engineering of Dispersant Systems (C-MEDS) and the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography’s Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting will hold a science seminar for professional journalists to be held during the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference in Mobile. The seminar will provide an opportunity to convey the broader state of the science regarding the DWH spill as well as specific scientific/engineering advances like those being studied by C-MEDS researchers.

The seminar will consist of three brief sessions, held throughout the conference:

5:30-7:00 p.m. – Monday, January 27: Where Did the Oil Go?

This session will help journalists understand the current state of the science on a) where the DWH oil went and b) the ultimate fate of the dispersants used to manage the DWH oil. Speakers will also describe how researchers tracked and assessed this information.

4:00-6:00 p.m. – Tuesday, January 28: Are There Lasting Effects of Dispersants Used in the DWH Response?

What is the state of understanding regarding impacts (if any) of dispersants used in the DWH spill on public health, seafood, and broader ecosystems?

4:00-6:00 p.m. – Wednesday, January 29: Building a Better Dispersant

What types of new dispersants are being developed? What are their new (better) properties? How do these new formulations address the problems identified in the Monday and Tuesday sessions?


Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation & Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA) Town Hall meeting
Monday January 27, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Battle House Renaissance (Moonlight Ballroom)
Organizer: Nancy Kinner (questions should be directed to Kathy Mandsager)

Session Description (Click for description)

Cash Bar and Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

High accumulation rates of sinking, oil-associated particles at the seafloor after the DwH accident were unexpected. This pathway was not considered in response strategies and is not included in the oil budget calculator for the DwH spill. MOSSFA (Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation) is a GoMRI inter-consortium working group, investigating the processes leading to the formation of rapidly sinking, oil- associated marine snow, its accumulation at the seafloor, and its fate and impact within pelagic and benthic ecosystems. At this Town Hall meeting, we will report on the summary findings that emerged from the inaugural MOSSFA meeting held October 2013.

Mitigation techniques for surfacing oil included the opening of the floodgates of the Mississippi River and diversionary channels to purge contaminants from the coast, the wide spread application of dispersants to reduce oil droplet size and increase oil solubility, and oil burning which resulted in the formation of pyrogenic PAHs and soot. Collectively, these tools may have resulted in many unintended consequences, including the intensification of MOSSFA processes, leading to the rapid formation, sedimentation and accumulation at the seafloor of flocculent material containing significant amounts of hydrocarbons of petrogenic and pyrogenic origins and labile biomass from diverse photo- and heterotrophic communities. Cross-shelf and lateral particle transport appears to have intensified MOSSFA processes and led to an increase in the spatial “footprint” of sedimentary oil deposition. Budgets estimate that between 3-25% of the total liquid oil released during the DwH event was deposited in the sedimentary reservoir, requiring a significant reappraisal of the DwH oil budget calculation. A continued flux of oil to the sediments would result in long-term contamination of benthic habitats and of lower and upper trophic-level benthic-resident organisms. This proposed mechanism provides a pathway for the uptake and continued metabolism of toxic and carcinogenic petroleum hydrocarbons into economically and recreational fish species.

The Town Hall discussion panel will focus on (1) evaluating the role of response strategies to surfacing oil on the intensification of MOSSFA-based processes, (2) incorporation of oiled-sediments in the oil-budget calculation, and (3) the long-term contamination of benthic habits and its impact on important benthic dependent fish species. Inclusion of these perspectives in association with future deep-sea petroleum blowouts may lead to a paradigm shift in how surfacing oil mitigation techniques are applied, how they influence the oil-budget calculations, and how biological impact and injury assessment are evaluated.

Organized by The MOSSFA Working Group: Uta Passow (UCSB), Jeff Chanton (FSU), Kendra Daly (USF), and David Hollander (USF).

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Kathy Mandsager by email or at 603-862-1545.


Gulf Restoration Science Programs Town Hall
Tuesday, January 28, 6-8pm

Renaissance Hotel (Mobile Bay Ballroom)
Organizer: Andrew Shepard

Session Description (Click for description)

Please join us for the Gulf Restoration Science Programs’ Town Hall meeting intended to inform and engage the public about the plans and status of new Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration science programs funded by spill criminal and civil penalties. A panel of program leaders, including RESTORE Act sections 1603 (Direct, Comprehensive Plan and Spill Impact components), 1604 (NOAA Science Program) and 1605 Centers of Excellence), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Academy of Sciences, North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, and Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration will provide summaries to include:

• Strategies—mandates, mission objectives, organization, project selection, coordination with other restoration programs, and public engagement

• Status– update on funding, projects and next steps.

These will be followed by a public question and answer period. Please click here for a detailed agenda. For more information, please contact Andrew Shepard.


Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program (RESTORE Act Science Program) Informational Session
Wednesday, January 29, 7:30am-2:00pm
Renaissance Hotel (Commodore Suite, 4th Floor)
Organizer: Julien Lartigue

Session Description (Click for description)

This session will offer an overview of the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program ( including information on future funding opportunities. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide input into the development of the Program’s science plan. A short (15 minute) presentation on the Program will be given at 8:00 AM, 10:30 AM, and 12:30 PM followed by a question and answer period. Conference participants are encouraged to stop by anytime from 7:30 – 2 PM to speak with representatives from the Program, have their questions about the Program answered, and offer guidance on priorities for the Program’s science plan.


An Information Exchange and Collaboration on Data Management for Environmental Disasters: Kick-Off Meeting
Wednesday 29 January, 7:30am – 9:30 am
Schooner Room
Organizer: Kathy Mandsager

Session Description (Click for description)

What: In the wake of DWH and with the flood of data and new research, this effort seeks to foster communication between existing activities to identify and establish protocols for orderly data collection, storage and retrieval. This discussion will initiate a working group to exchange ideas and foster future collaboration on critical environmental event-related data management activities.

Who should participate: Scientists & researchers, industry, NGOs, federal & state agencies, data managers, data collectors, and data retrieval personnel.

Working Group Objectives:

  • Engage the community of data users, data managers, and data collectors to foster a culture of applying consistent terms and concepts, data flow, and quality assurance and control.
  • Provide oversight in the establishment and integration of foundational, baseline data collected prior to an environmental event and that is based on user requirements.
  • Provide best-practice guidance for data and metadata management.
  • Suggest infrastructure design elements to facilitate quick and efficient search, discovery and retrieval of data.
  • Review data management plans to facilitate the application of community-driven “Gold Standards” for appropriate data sampling, formatting, reliability and retrievability.

Mark your calendar and plan to attend this important event in conjunction with the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference.

Hosted by: Russ Beard, NOAA, National Coastal Data Development Center; Amy Merten, NOAA, Office of Response and Restoration;  and Nancy Kinner, Coastal Response Research Center, University of New Hampshire.

RSVP or more information:


For a list of GoMRI-related activities at the conference, please visit the GoMRI webpage.