Annual Lecture Series 2011

June 13-17, 2011

boesch2011-2 Monday, June 13, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling
Donald Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Boesch, a member of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, will provide a summary of the Commission’s findings and recommendations related to ensuring safer operations and protecting and restoring the environment and a current status report on action on these recommendations. [ Summary ]
asper2011 Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
Where Did All That Oil Go? And Why is This Such a Hard Question, Anyway?
Vernon Asper, Department of Marine Science, University of Southern Mississippi
After estimating the amount of oil spilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, scientists focused next on where the oil went. Many scrambled to model the distribution of oil and measure it in the field. Among the first to visit the spill site, Asper will describe methods he used for studying the oil’s pathways, the uncertainties associated with this process, and a summary of the current understanding of the fate and transport of the oil. [ Summary ]
 ropeik2011 Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
Communication Lessons from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
David Ropeik, Author and Risk Communication Consultant, moderator
Communication plans for federal agencies are informed by well-established research and prior experience. The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, however, demonstrated that these plans can be very difficult to follow in the heat of a complex crisis that involves a wide range of levels and branches of government. Panelists will discuss the communication challenges and some resulting missteps made during the 2010 Gulf oil spill, and the lessons learned from this experience. [ Summary ]
 cordes Thursday, June 16, 2011, 3:30 p.m.
Impacts of the Oil Spill on Seafloor Communities: Coupling Exploration and Damage Assessment
Erik Cordes, Biology Department, Temple University
More than a year after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, damage assessment in the deep waters of the Gulf remains challenge. While satellite imagery is an excellent tool for tracking the spill on the surface, monitoring oil in mid-water or on the seafloor is far more difficult, and assessing the impact on the life of the deep seafloor is even more challenging. Cordes will present ongoing studies on the extent of the damage to coral reefs in the area. [ Summary ]
somasundaran Friday, June 17, 2011, 11 a.m.
Looking Ahead: Developing Alternative Approaches for the Next Oil Spill
Ponisseril Somasundaran, Department of Earth & Environmental Engineering, Columbia University
In the immediate wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill, federal regulators deployed a commonly used chemical to disperse the oil in a trade-off intended to reduce impacts on coastal habitats. No research was available on how these dispersants might perform under different pressure, salinity, temperature and hydrodynamical conditions in the Gulf, particularly in the presence of oil. Somasundaran and his colleagues are developing and testing new bio-dispersants minimally toxic to marine organisms. He will discuss their methods and preliminary results. [ Summary ]

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