Early in the morning of April 21, 2010, oceanographer Samantha Joy received a nasty email from a research partner in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The usual trip to sample water and sediment from the seabed has instead turned into a disaster site. Smoke eruptions swirl from a distance, her colleague writes. Coast Guard boats study They were high-tailed by the ship. They returned to the harbor and knotted Joye’s intestines, which would last for months.
The team soon got a BP oil rig Deepwater Horizon Just an explosion killed 11 oil workers and left more than 200 million gallons of toxic oil swirling around the bay, causing the largest accident in history to cause a marine oil spill.
It was also the most serious oil spill to date, most of which originated from wellheads about a mile below the seafloor. A few days after the explosion, Joy was worried that large amounts of oil and gas would remain trapped in the deep sea and surge in the deep sea currents. And she found this plume important for final purification. I knew there was. So she urged the team to reuse the time of the next ship, which means tracking the plume for more routine sampling in the bay. Many years ago. It’s not an easy pivot for oceanographers planning research cruises, says Joy.
Her team was right to change course. In the coming weeks, they had deep-sea hills and currents covered with benzene, toluene and other known carcinogens and neurotoxins in crude oil and gas. I first found a huge river of pollutants that winded between. The winding underwater plume contained more than half of all material released into the sea. 87 days blowout, It does not look like a satellite image of the outflow survey from above. “Half of the oil and all the gas would have been missing,” says Joy, if only the surface slicks were evaluated.
The brewing of the toxin will chop up seabird liver, dolphin lungs, and fish skin, harming or killing hundreds of thousands of animals in the future. Now, more than a decade later, many substances are broken down. However, some remain in the seafloor deposits.Led by Joy Consortium of researchers This is one of several projects she is pursuing in the University of Georgia lab.
More broadly, Joy specializes in the unique metabolism of oil and gas-fed marine bacteria, which helped form a debate about the best ways to use these bacteria to purify effluents. This is a research field. She says she is attracted to these microbes not only in their ability to cure disasters, but also in stabilizing the Earth’s climate by consuming greenhouse gases. She is currently investigating how these microbial communities and their many environmental services change and are affected in a world of warming.
Joy worked rigorously and charismatically, often landing her in the public sphere, including participation in BBC documentaries. Blue Planet II, Education consulting Video gameCollaboration with Children’s cartoonShe spends more time than usual on such education and outreach. Because she sees approaching young people and helping to inspire the next generation of marine scientists as a form of insurance for the future of the ocean.
Her microbial expertise and research extends beyond the territory of the ocean to lakes, mangroves and estuaries .. She studied with Joy as a graduate student over 10 years ago and is now East Booth Bay, Maine. “She made a really great contribution,” said Beth Ocut, a geobiologist who studies marine microbes at the Bigelow Institute for Marine Sciences in Tokyo. While many microbiologists organize their careers around a single organism or system, Joy has a broader focus, so he takes a more comprehensive approach and potential problems and biases in discovery. Is easier to find, says Orcutt. “I think this is why she is so respected in this area.”
Ocean explorer roots
Joye, who loved the ocean from an early age, didn’t grow up wanting to be an oceanographer. Her family grew soybeans, cotton, tobacco and other crops on a farm in South Carolina and planned to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983 to become a doctor. However, when she was in the third grade, she took a whimsical course in marine science and became absorbed in it and found her to be excellent. She received a letter from the professor of the course recommending her to go on to graduate school, and she remembered the proposal. “He was able to ignite my imagination and devote all his intellectual energy and curiosity to asking questions about the ocean,” she says.
She holds a master’s and doctoral degree in ocean science from North Carolina and was a postdoctoral fellow at San Francisco State University in 1993 studying a community of marine microorganisms called Metanotrov. Its a powerful greenhouse gas. That year she attended a session at a conference on similar microbes that live in the deep sea. When she asked one of the speakers, Joy was surprised to be invited to join the next research cruise to the Gulf of Mexico. On her 1994 trip, she first landed on the ocean floor and became a catalyst for many of her subsequent work.
Since then, Joy has led or participated in more than 100 trips to the ocean floor. Most of them are in the Gulf of Mexico. She believes she was lucky to find the submerged oil and gas by sticking a needle in a haystack. Deep water I spill a lot of the time she spent there. While navigating the submarine canyons and volcanoes of the terrain, she takes large numbers of photos and video footage, uses robotic arms and baskets to collect samples of water, rocks, and microbial mats and goes to the lab for analysis. I’ll take it home.
She often stuffs her notebooks with thoughts as she gets off and creates new research agendas at that moment. “When you’re on a submarine, there’s an explosion of creativity and consciousness that you can never get otherwise,” she says. She adds that without her three adolescents, she would have sunk to the bottom of the ocean every day.
There, oil and gas erupt naturally from crevices on the ocean floor, supporting mussel floors, giant 6-foot-long tube worms, and an unexpectedly lush oasis of a unique bacterial community. A strong desire for oil and gas. Over the years, we’ve been investigating how these microbial communities share resources and compete, but how often the excrement of one organism functions as a food source for another. I was surprised to find out if there was one. environment.
These her intimate knowledge Microorganisms and environment, Explained in detail in the article Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Helped to critically assess the use of controversial chemical dispersants. Deepwater Horizon Leaked several years after the disaster. She said that the use of chemicals like these detergents attracts bacteria that tend to prefer the dispersant itself over oil by breaking down the oil into small droplets that are easily consumed by microorganisms, and oil-centric chemistry. I thought it might push the substance away. Microorganisms. In this case, more oil remains in the sea than without any dispersant.
for Deepwater Horizon disaster, This consideration was not trivial: Joye says an unprecedented 7 million liters of dispersant flowed into the Gulf of Mexico following a spill, initially an inefficient fire hose-type application. She and her colleagues have since Laboratory research This shows that the dispersant can actually slow down the deterioration of the oil by promoting the growth of the dispersant-eating microorganisms and suppressing the oil-eating microorganisms. She says it’s not yet clear when and how to use dispersants, but she urges the marine scientific community to consider these subtle differences in future spill assessments.
“Her research on it was state-of-the-art,” said Claire Paris-Rimouji, an oceanographer at the University of Miami who worked with Joy to assess oil sustainability. Difficult to track — Until today in the Gulf. Understand how these spills occur in the water and how best to cleanse them as deep-sea oil exploration continues to expand around the world and the risks of deep-sea spills continue. It’s important, says Paris Limouge.
This kind of work involves challenges.A few weeks after collecting the sample in the oil slick Deepwater Horizon She had to wear full-body protective clothing in 105 ° F weather and inhale benzene and other harmful smoke on a ship whose intakes were clogged with oil and air filtration stopped working on a regular basis. “It was pretty terrible to work,” says Joy.
But now, ten years later, these efforts have laid an important foundation for understanding how marine microbial communities can help maintain the health of the ocean. Joy now says that stress factors such as climate change-related increases in water temperature and acidity change the coordinated nature of these ecosystems, increasing their competitiveness and giving one organism an advantage over another. I am investigating whether or not. system.
And she continues to strengthen her youth efforts, most recently establishing a marine discovery camp for junior high school students in Georgia. She will follow the campers over the next few years in the hope of supporting some who pursue a lifelong career in marine science.
“I think it’s very important to get these kids hooked and passionate,” she says. “Important things for everyone’s future”
This article was originally Familiar magazine, An independent journalism effort from Annual Reviews.
Deepwater Horizon was an important point for this oceanographer-Technology News, Firstpost
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