Welcome aboard the Oceana Latitude. Wednesday brought heat, humidity and eight new Oceana staff members, which will take part in a two week oil plume experiment. Alongside Oceana European Vice President, Xavier Pastor, the experiment will be led by Pacific Director, Susan Murray and Pacific Science Director, Dr. Jeff Short. The team will head out Friday to begin the study.
The Oceana Latitude also had to say goodbye to ROV operator Matthias Gorny and Oceana Pacific office staff Cayleigh Allen. The two embarked on a three day journey to Monterey, California. There they will participate in the Oceana Pacific California Current expedition and use the ROV to document important ecological areas of Monterey Bay.
Aboard the Oceana Latitude the team met to familiarize themselves with the boat and discuss the experiment that will be taking place in the days to come.
Plans are to document the spatial extent of at least one suspected subsurface dispersion plume of oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
Dr. Short is using one of the methods he learned while he was the lead chemist for the Exxon Valdez cleanup. His approach for assessing the spatial extent of subsurface oil involves deployment of 40 moorings. Essentially a surface buoy with a 5/16 inch leaded line attached to an anchor on the seafloor. As the line descends there will be one test strip attached at 100 meter intervals. The test strips are specifically designed to absorb hydrocarbons left over from the oil blow out.
Over 14,000 pounds of gear has arrived and the moorings are being assembled. Next Oceana Latitude will set sail for the Deepwater Horizon and the experiment will commence.