Novel insight is often found when stepping beyond the normal, and studying processes in settings with extreme external forcings.
Deepwater Horizon Spill
We are part of a large consortia studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, studying the extent and causes for the observed O2 drawdown in the water column and the response of sediment processes to the deposition of hydrocarbons. For more information see the ECOGIG website.
Oxygen deficits in the water column of the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Spill
Hydrothermal vents are windows to the deep subsurface. The rapid translocation of reduced substances from depth to the seafloor drives chemical disequilibria, creating unique niches for life which in turn can alter not only the chemical but also the physical environment. Hydrothermal systems and their subsurface environments exhibit tremendous productivity as evidenced by the lush communities flourishing around vents. However, despite tremendous progress since the discovery of hydrothermal vents in the '70s, the distribution and relative importance of the subsurface processes that produce the observed biological assemblage are still not well constrained.
To establish a quantitatively rigorous connection between physical drivers, chemical transformations and biological responses, including feedback mechanisms, we used a quasi-coupled approach that couples flow simulations with geochemical speciation modeling. It provides a wealth of information on the chemical conditions in the subsurface, and differences in observed and modeled fluid composition is used to infer microbial reactions.