Date of Award

Fall 2018

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Chair

Leila Hamdan

Committee Chair School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 2

Joe Griffitt

Committee Member 2 School

Ocean Science and Engineering

Committee Member 3

Chet Rakocinski

Committee Member 3 School

Ocean Science and Engineering


There are over 2,000 known historic shipwrecks located in the northern Gulf of Mexico which are ecological and cultural resources that support the diversity of life found in the deep-sea when they become artificial reefs. Spilled crude oil and chemical dispersant from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill may have impacted the preservation of deep-sea historic shipwrecks and their microbiomes if they are located in areas where oil and dispersant were deposited on the seafloor. Oil potentially accelerates corrosion of metal through a biologically-mediated process called microbially-induced corrosion (MIC). Introduction of spill contaminants may accelerate MIC on shipwreck hulls, which may place the integrity of historic shipwrecks at risk. The effects of this process can be studied through laboratory and field experiments to provide understanding of the biofilm formation and metal corrosion processes under oiled and un-oiled scenarios. Elucidating the mechanisms of MIC through metagenomics will help fill the knowledge gap of the interaction between abiotic corrosion and biologically-mediated processes that potentially accelerate corrosion on metal surfaces. Results presented here may lead to a better understanding of how the DWH spill impacted shipwreck materials and other marine metal infrastructure.