TitleMicrobial Dynamics Following the Macondo Oil Well Blowout across Gulf of Mexico Environments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsJoye SB
Secondary AuthorsTeske AP, Kostka JE
Start Page766
Date Published09/2014
Type of ArticlePeer Reviewed Journal Article
Keywordsbioremediation, microbiology, oceanography

The Macondo blowout released roughly 5 million barrels of oil and up to 500,000 tons of natural gas into Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 1500 meters. Inarguably, the gas released from the Macondo blowout remained in the deep water. At least 30% of the oil remained in the deepwater plume, whereas the remainder reached the surface, forming sometimes thick and expansive surface slicks. The hydrocarbon injection led to profound changes in microbial community composition and activity in the Gulf's waters and sediments and in nearshore benthic habitats. We provide a comprehensive literature review of the blowout's impacts on microbial community composition and on microbial activity across Gulf of Mexico ecosystems. Although microbiological research in the wake of the blowout led to many noteworthy discoveries, it also revealed an urgent need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the environmental factors that regulate microbial hydrocarbon degradation in the environment.