2019 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference

Join scientists at the 2019 GoMOSES conference as they discuss how research conducted since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will inform strategic policy and operational decision making in the Gulf of Mexico. By highlighting new discoveries and reflecting on this body of research, participants will assess the current knowledge of oil spill response, impact of oil spills on ecosystems and people, and strategies for effective recovery and restoration.

The conference will take place February 4-7, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The seventh annual conference, organized by a diverse group of partners, will bring together hundreds of experts from academia, local, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry to share the latest oil spill and ecosystem scientific discoveries, innovations, technologies, and policies. The four-day program will consist of 23 scientific sessions with over 250 oral presentations and nearly 245 poster presentations. Several associated meetings, events, and workshops will also be held. For more information view the online program.

The conference will open with a plenary focusing on the critical transition after an oil spill from informing spill response strategies to recovery and restoration efforts. Providing a unique perspective into this transition is Robert Spies, chief scientist on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. The plenary will also include an update on the current state of Gulf science from Buck Sutter, deputy executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, as well as panelists from several Gulf-related institutions.

Many of the scientific presentations at the conference also focus on this transition, and the integration of research into management practices. A few examples include:

  • Exploring coastal vulnerabilities to oil spills with the Tactical Analysis and Coordination for Oil Spills (TACOS) suite

T. H. Grubesic, Arizona State Univ., Phoenix, AZ.
To share their oil spill knowledge with managers effectively, scientists create tools that can synthesize data into formats usable and meaningful to the management community. This presentation introduces a new, open source, decision support platform that allows scientists and managers to explore and visualize oil spills in deep water. The TACOS suite assists in the planning of oil spill response strategies by running scenarios to optimize the deployment of response crews and equipment to minimize the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of a spill.

  • Advances in visualization of deep-sea blowout using numerical modeling and observations

C. B. Paris, Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, Miami, FL.
Prior to the Deepwater Horizon spill, little was known about the dynamics of deep-sea blowouts as much of the historical knowledge focused on near-surface or surface spills. The observational and modeling data amassed over the last nine years have enabled the creation of new four-dimensional visualizations of oil movement and dynamics from a blowout. Not only are these visualizations helpful to trace the evolution of blowouts, but also the impacts on marine organisms in the vicinity.

  • Predicting the impacts of oil spill-related fishery closures on fishery revenues – a spatially explicit approach

I. Berenshtein, Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, Miami, FL.
After the Deepwater Horizon spill, approximately one-third of the U.S. exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico experienced fisheries closures. As many Gulf communities depend on fisheries revenues, the closure of a fishery can have large effects throughout a community. In this study, researchers paired a three-dimensional oil-transport model with fishing vessel data to predict the consequences of oil spills on county-level fisheries revenue at locations throughout the Gulf.

  • Disastrous consequences: Comparing communities after a human-caused and a natural disaster

J. Brooks, National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, New York, NY.
This study compares the consequences of a man-made disaster (the Deepwater Horizon spill) to a natural disaster (Hurricane Katrina) in terms of their impacts on coastal communities. Understanding the process of recovery from these disasters will help policy makers better understand how to improve resilience in these coastal communities for the next disaster. This study compares health, economic, and social impacts of each disaster from an analysis of survey data as well as recovery trends.

Please note that the conference will go forward even if the federal government has not fully reopened.

GoMOSES is made possible by the generous support of many organizations.

For more information, visit the conference website.

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