About this Research Topic
Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, major funding has been allocated to understanding the antecedents, circumstances and long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Various projects have been supported by the Natural resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process, as well as the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) and other federal and state agencies. This Research Topic will focus exclusively on synthesis of published studies and publicly-available data series documenting the trajectories of resource populations and communities affected by the spill.
The goal of this Research Topic is to produce a series of summary papers that provide consistent evaluations of long-term ecological changes observed in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That spill affected a wide range of ecotypes including open ocean water column and deep benthic resources, continental shelves and coastal and nearshore habitats. Authors will use consistent criteria to define the vulnerability of species populations to the circumstances of the Deepwater Horizon spill scenario. Resilience to the spill will be defined using indicators of life history susceptibility as well as time series data documenting species trajectories, in some cases pre-dating the spill. Vulnerability and resilience will be contrasted over the various ecotypes affected and conclusions drawn regarding the applicability of this case study to future deepwater blowouts.
The five papers comprising this Research Topic are based on two comprehensive workshops sponsored by the Core Area 3 team of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI). GoMRI's Core Area 3 comprised studies examining the ecological impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill. Each of the four "ecotype" papers examines evidence documenting impacts at organismal, population, community and ecosystem levels of organization. Where available, data were gleaned from the many state and federally-supported monitoring programs put in place prior to the 2010 spill. Ecotypes summarized include the open ocean (epi-, meso, and bentho-pelagic), deep benthic, continental shelf and coastal/nearshore systems. These systems are linked both by water mass movements entraining oil polluted waters and by the connectivity of marine resource populations. The fifth (overview) paper in this Research Topic outlines an approach to assessing the vulnerability of key resource species and ecosystems to the specific circumstances of the Deepwater Horizon spill and the resilience potential of the species to either resist impacts or recover from negative effects of oil contamination and/or the series of oil spill counter-measures employed.
Please note that this Research Topic is not open for spontaneous submissions and only accepts invited papers.
Keywords: vulnerability, resilience, Deepwater Horizon, oil spill
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