Dr. Leila Hamdan leads shipwreck research team in the Gulf of Mexico
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affected marine mammals, fish, waterfowl and the tiniest of marine life― microbes. George Mason University molecular microbial ecologist Leila Hamdan is working to understand the effects of this oil spill on microbial life on shipwrecks in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
“A shipwreck is a hard surface, rarely found in the deep ocean, and it creates a perfect environment for organisms large and small to attach to,” says Hamdan, associate director of the George Mason University’s Microbiome Analysis Center. “When a shipwreck happens, the first organisms on the scene are microbes. They help transform … human structures into a hotspot for life in the deep ocean.”
Hamdan is leading research that explores the ecological role shipwrecks play in ocean water deeper than 200 meters. Funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, this study is the first to assess how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected deep-ocean microbial communities. The study also has implications for recovery from the environmental damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Read the full article from the Mason NewsDesk on 7/21/2014…