Authors

Adam T. Greer, University of Southern MississippiFollow
Alan M. Shiller, University of Southern Mississippi
Eileen E. Hoffman, Old Dominion University
Jerry D. Wiggert, University of Southern Mississippi
Sally J. Warner, Oregon State University
Sabrina M. Parra, Stennis Space Center
Chudong Pan, University of Southern Mississippi
Jeffrey W. Book, Stennis Space Center
DongJoo Joung, University of Southern Mississippi
Steven K. Dykstra, University of South Alabama and Dauphin Island
Jeffrey W. Krause, University of South Alabama and Dauphin Island
Brian Dzwonkowski, University of South Alabama and Dauphin Island
Inia M. Soto, University of Southern Mississippi
M. Kemal Cambazoglu, University of Southern Mississippi
Alison L. Deary, University of Southern Mississippi
Christian Briseño-Avena, Oregon State University
Adam D. Boyette, University of Southern Mississippi
Jessica A. Kastler, University of Southern Mississippi
Virginie Sanial, University of Southern Mississippi
Laura Hode, University of Southern Mississippi
Uchenna Nwankwo, University of Southern Mississippi
Luciano M. Chiaverano, University of Southern Mississippi
Stephan J. O'Brien, University of Southern Mississippi
Patrick J. Fitzpatrick, Mississippi State University Science and Technology Center
Yee H. Lau, Mississippi State University Science and Technology Center
Michael S. Dinniman, Old Dominion University
Kevin M. Martin, University of Southern Mississippi
Peng Ho, University of Southern Mississippi
Allison K. Mojzis, University of Southern Mississippi
Stephan D. Howden, University of Southern Mississippi
Frank J. Hernandez, University of Southern Mississippi
Ian Church, University of New Brunswick
Travis N. Miles, Rutgers University - New Brunswick/Piscataway
Su Sponaugle, Oregon State University
James N. Moum, Oregon State University
Robert A. Arnone, University of Southern Mississippi
Robert K. Cowen, Oregon State University
Gregg A. Jacobs, Stennis Space Center
Oscar Schofield, Rutgers University - New Brunswick/Piscataway
William M. Graham, University of Southern Mississippi

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-17-2018

Department

Marine Science

Abstract

Coastal river-dominated oceans are physically complex, biologically productive, and intimately connected to human socioeconomic activity. The Deepwater Horizon blowout and subsequent advection of oil into coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico (nGOM) highlighted the complex linkages among oceanographic processes within this river-dominated system and knowledge gaps about it that resulted in imprecise information on both oil transport and ecosystem consequences. The interdisciplinary research program implemented through the CONsortium for oil exposure pathways in COastal River-Dominated Ecosystems (CONCORDE) is designed to identify and quantitatively assess key physical, biological, and geochemical processes acting in the nGOM, in order to provide the foundation for implementation of a synthesis model (coupled circulation and biogeochemistry) of the nGOM shelf system that can ultimately aid in prediction of oil spill transport and impacts. CONCORDE field and modeling efforts in 2015–2016 focused on defining the influence of freshwater input from river plumes in the nGOM. In situ observations, combined with field-deployed and simulated drifters, show considerable variability in the spatial extent of freshwater influence that is related to wind direction and strength. Increased primary production and particle abundance (a proxy for secondary production) was observed during the spring when nGOM shelf waters were becoming stratified. Zooplankton and marine snow displayed intense vertical and horizontal patchiness during all seasons, often aggregating near the halocline. Simulations of a neutrally buoyant tracer released offshore of the Mississippi Bight showed surface advection of low tracer concentrations onto the inner shelf under high river discharge, high stratification, and variable wind conditions compared to almost no advection onto the inner shelf under low discharge, negligible stratification, and generally northeasterly winds. The interconnectedness of environmental variables and biological activity indicate that multiple factors can affect the transport of oil and the resulting ecological impacts. The process-oriented understanding provided by CONCORDE is necessary to predict ecosystem-level impacts of oil spills, and these results are applicable to other river-dominated coastal systems worldwide that often support oil extraction activities.

Publication Title

Oceanography

Volume

31

Issue

3

First Page

90

Last Page

103

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