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'[TECH]:: Bugs ate most of the Gulf of Mexico oil s'
2011\01\07@064052 by RussellMc

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     http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/01/05/science.1199697.abstract?sa_campaign=Email/pap/6-January-2011/10.1126/science.1199697

      A Persistent Oxygen Anomaly Reveals the Fate of Spilled Methane
in the Deep Gulf of Mexico


It has previously suggested, with substantial disbelief expressed in
some quarters, that the major part of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was
eaten by 'Methane loving' bacteria which already exist in the area and
which feed on the extremely considerable amount of natural oil seepage
which always occurs in the area.

This paper in Nature agrees with and formalises the claim.

The 3E10 - 3.9E10 + moles of Oxygen which they say were released is
about 1+ million tonnes of oxygen.

It would be interesting to see the results of a spill of similar
magnitude where most of the spilt material was NOT eaten en situ by
local entrepreneurs.



________

The ability of "nature" to provide in-place substantial protective
negative feedback mechanisms and the frequency and consistency with
which it does this, gives pause for thought (or should)  in new or
immature scientific disciplines where details and mechanisms are
relatively unknown. Despite this, zero or strong positive feedback
mechanisms are often enthusiastically proposed by "researchers" when
reality is as yet still unknown. Nature is not obliged to provide
negative feedback loops to cover every contingency, and in some cases
it may not do so. But assuming that it hasn't or cannot or demanding
that it shouldn't in any given and unknown case should, you'd think,
upset Occam.

The above observation about how nature very usually is found to work,
which sounds entirely reasonable to me, of course, is guaranteed to
upset people who wish to demand that "it isn't so" in their favourite
but as yet lightly explored scientific field. That's life.

Russell McMahon


_____________________________

         http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/01/05/science.1199697.abstract?sa_campaign=Email/pap/6-January-2011/10.1126/science.1199697

A Persistent Oxygen Anomaly Reveals the Fate of Spilled Methane in the
Deep Gulf of Mexico

John D. Kessler1,*,
David L. Valentine2,*,
Molly C. Redmond2,
Mengran Du1,
Eric W. Chan1,
Stephanie D. Mendes2,
Erik W. Quiroz3,
Christie J. Villanueva2,
Stephani S. Shusta2,
Lindsay M. Werra2,
Shari A. Yvon-Lewis1 and
Thomas C. Weber4

+Author Affiliations

1Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
77843–3146, USA.
2Department of Earth Science and Marine Science Institute, University
of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.
3Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, Texas A&M University,
College Station, TX 77843, USA.
4Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, University of New Hampshire,
Durham, NH 03824, USA.

*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
spam_OUTjkesslerTakeThisOuTspamocean.tamu.edu (J.D.K.); .....valentineKILLspamspam@spam@geol.ucsb.edu(D.L.V.)

ABSTRACT

Methane was the most abundant hydrocarbon released during the 2010
Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Beyond relevancy to
this anthropogenic event, this methane release simulates a rapid and
relatively short-term natural release from hydrates into deepwater.
Based on methane and oxygen distributions measured at 207 stations
throughout the affected region, we find that within ~120 days from the
onset of release ~3.0 × 1010 to 3.9 × 1010 moles of oxygen were
respired, primarily by methanotrophs, and left behind a residual
microbial community containing methanotrophic bacteria. We suggest
that a vigorous deepwater bacterial bloom respired nearly all the
released methane within this time and that by analogy, large-scale
releases of methane from hydrate in the deep ocean are likely to be
met by a similarly rapid methanotrophic response.

2011\01\07@125537 by Bob Blick

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On Sat, 8 Jan 2011 00:40:07 +1300, "RussellMc" said:

>        A Persistent Oxygen Anomaly Reveals the Fate of Spilled Methane
> in the Deep Gulf of Mexico
>
>
> It has previously suggested, with substantial disbelief expressed in
> some quarters, that the major part of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was
> eaten by 'Methane loving' bacteria which already exist in the area and
> which feed on the extremely considerable amount of natural oil seepage
> which always occurs in the area.

I was listening to a scientist on the radio yesterday who was curious
how the bacteria, which normally processes methane very slowly, could
suddenly step up to the plate and gobble so much faster, especially
since the high concentration of methane was not accompanied by high
concentration of the other neccessary component, oxygen. So he was
skeptical of the report and felt that ocean currents might have moved a
lot of the methane out of their limited test area.

Maybe it is methane that's been knocking birds out of the sky?

Bob

-- http://www.fastmail.fm - mmm... Fastmail...

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