Improving Communication of Oil Spill Research

Oil Spill Research | News Release

The Deepwater Horizon oilrig suffered a catastrophic failure in April 2010, resulting in an unprecedented volume of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The scientific community is now attempting to identify research needs and prioritize challenges to come as a result.

As scientific research emerges on impacts of the spill, the news media and informal science educators will need to obtain and communicate accurate information about the short- and long-term effects.

To meet these needs, Metcalf Institute received a Rapid Response grant from the National Science Foundation’s Informal Science Education program. The project was designed to help scientists, journalists and informal science educators understand and better communicate the impacts and research efforts relating to the oil spill.

The project comprised of three programs:

  • 13th Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists
    Coastal Impacts: Lessons Learned from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
    June 12-17, 2011
    Metcalf Institute’s 13th Annual Workshop and concurrent Public Lecture Series focused on the current state of scientific knowledge and policy outcomes regarding the oil spill.
  • Science Seminar: Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
    April 6-8, 2011
    Agenda | Participants | Speakers | Resources | Presentations | Partners
    This 2.5-day program, which was co-hosted by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) and Louisiana State University, was held at LUMCON’s DeFelice Marine Center in Cocodrie, LA. Participants learned about basic scientific principles and techniques and specific research questions arising from the oil spill through lectures, interactive discussions, and field/laboratory sessions.
    The program addressed five scientific themes: natural history of the Gulf of Mexico; fate and transport of the oil; dispersant use and impacts; ecosystem impacts; and seafood safety.
  • SEJ Annual Conference
    October 2010
    A series of three discussions on the early scientific challenges of the spill were held at the 20th annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Three Deepwater Horizon oil spill researchers participated in the conference to discuss the major scientific questions to be resolved in the coming months to years and their specific research projects. Two earth science graduate students were selected to attend through an application process.

This project was supported by grant number 1055381 from the National Science Foundation.