Animals


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The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) has funded several research efforts related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including the DEEPEND (Deep Pelagic Nekton Dynamics) research consortium (80 members at 11 institutions, led by Nova Southeastern University) and the DTOX (Deep-sea Risk Assessment and Species Sensitivity) project, also featuring NSU scientists. The DTOX group has been conducting a series of laboratory studies using both individual hydrocarbons and bulk oil samples to understand petroleum toxicity to several ecologically important deep-sea micronekton species. Recently, a group of 20 students (ages 8-13) from American Heritage School Science Camp visited the Marine Toxicology Laboratory and the Oceanic Ecology Laboratory at Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center. During the visit, students learned about animals found in the deep ocean from two DEEPEND graduate students, Nina Pruzinsky and Mike Novotny, in Dr. Tracey Sutton’s lab, before seeing an active toxicity experiment. The campers then aided in data collection for one of the hourly mortality readings by viewing the deep-sea crustaceans being exposed to petroleum hydrocarbons. As an added benefit, a tour of the facility and discussion about coral reefs and marine pollution also took place. DEEPEND was happy to be a part of their experience and to expose these campers to animals rarely seen from the deep ocean.