The Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems (C-IMAGE) is a research consortium of 19 U.S. and international partners focused on effects of oil spills on marine environments. The C-IMAGE consortium is currently in their third and final installment of funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) in response to the Deepwater Horizon blowout of 2010. C-IMAGE is focused on GoMRI Research Themes 2 and 3, studying:
- Chemical evolution and biological degradation of the petroleum/dispersant systems and subsequent interaction with coastal, open-ocean, and deep-water ecosystems. (Theme 2)
- Environmental effects of the petroleum/dispersant system on the sea floor, water column, coastal waters, beach sediments, wetlands, marshes, and organisms; and the science of ecosystem recovery. (Theme 3)
Our group is contributing to the high-pressure experiments, and studies of the oil fate in water column and marine sediments. To this end we use an in-house built high-pressure partition device to assess chemical solubility and partition coefficients for petroleum compounds (e.g., BTEX) between gas charged oil and seawater at high pressure; and ultra-high resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) to study the composition, behavior and fate of complex petrogenic and biogenic organic mixtures in marine sediments and dissolved organic matter (DOM).