Tag Archives: deepwater horizon

“Modena” strikes oil

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACatherine Edwards’s AUV “Modena” was sent out into the Gulf of Mexico last month as part of the ECOGIG (Ecosystem Impacts of Oil & Gas Inputs to the Gulf) research project to study the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf ecosystem. Modena found oil, but not in the way Catherine or anyone else expected. When the research team recovered Modena they discovered her fabric skin was covered with dark blotches. At first the team thought it was some sort of algae. Closer examination revealed the spots were created by oil droplets in the water.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Modena is cruising the Gulf of Mexico

Catherine and Georgia Tech grad students Sungjin Cho and Dongsik Chang, adjust Modena's buoyancy in 2014.

Catherine and Georgia Tech grad students Sungjin Cho and Dongsik Chang, adjust Modena’s buoyancy in 2014.

Catherine Edwards’ Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, nicknamed “Modena,” is working in the Gulf of Mexico this month.  The activity is part of a three-year, $18.8 million to continue studies of natural oil seeps and track the impacts of the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

Known as ECOGIG-2 or “Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf,” the project is a collaborative, multi-institutional effort involving biological, chemical, geological and chemical oceanographers led by the University of Georgia’s Samantha Joye. The research team has worked in the Gulf since the weeks following the 2010 Macondo well blowout.

Modena has been at work collecting data since June 25th. It takes Modena about an hour to collect each profile (up+down cast), and she sends her data to shore every 6 hours. You can follow Modena’s progress at: http://gcoos2.tamu.edu/gandalf/deployed/