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Gulf of Mexico Shipwreck Corrosion, Hydrocarbon Exposure, Microbiology, and Archaeology (GOM-SCHEMA) Project: Did the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Impact Historic Shipwrecks?

Author(s): Melanie Damour ; Leila Hamdan ; Jennifer Salerno ; Robert Church ; Daniel Warren

Year: 2016

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Summary

After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a rapid influx of research and damage assessment funds dedicated to studying the spill’s impacts poured into the region; however, only one study is examining the spill’s impacts on historic shipwrecks. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and study partners implemented a multidisciplinary approach to examine microbial community biodiversity on deepwater shipwrecks, their role in shipwreck preservation, their response to the oil spill, and how that response ultimately affects these submerged archaeological sites. The diversity of resident micro- and macro-infauna and their sensitivity to environmental change demonstrates the suitability of shipwrecks as ecosystem monitoring platforms. To assess micro- to macro-scale impacts, the study collected microbiological, geochemical, and archaeological data at wooden- and metal-hulled shipwrecks within and outside of the spill-impacted area for a comparative analysis. Results of the study have identified multiple lines of evidence that sites were impacted by exposure to spill-related contaminants. In addition, laboratory experiments simulating spill exposure to metal hull materials have yielded results that have implications for long-term monitoring efforts, submerged cultural resource management, and spill mitigation approaches.


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Gulf of Mexico Shipwreck Corrosion, Hydrocarbon Exposure, Microbiology, and Archaeology (GOM-SCHEMA) Project: Did the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Impact Historic Shipwrecks?. Melanie Damour, Leila Hamdan, Jennifer Salerno, Robert Church, Daniel Warren. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404666)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America