Recent Publications

Impact of particle concentration and out-of-range sizes on the measurements of the LISST

Zhao L, Boufadel M, King T, Robinson B, Conmy R, Lee K. Impact of particle concentration and out-of-range sizes on the measurements of the LISST. Measurement Science and Technology [Internet]. 2018;29 (5). Publisher's VersionAbstract
The instrument LISST (laser in situ scattering and transmissiometry) has been widely used for measuring the size of oil droplets in relation to oil spills and sediment particles. Major concerns associated with using the instrument include the impact of high concentrations and/or out-of-range particle (droplet) sizes on the LISST reading. These were evaluated experimentally in this study using monosized microsphere particles. The key findings include: (1) When high particle concentration reduced the optical transmission (OT) to below 30%, the measured peak value tended to underestimate the true peak value, and the accuracy of the LISST decreased by ~8% to ~28%. The maximum concentration to reach the 30% OT was about 50% of the theoretical values, suggesting a lower concentration level should be considered during the instrument deployment. (2) The out-of-range sizes of particles affected the LISST measurements when the sizes were close to the LISST measurement range. Fine below-range sizes primarily affected the data in the lowest two bins of the LISST with  >75% of the volume at the smallest bin. Large out-of-range particles affected the sizes of the largest 8–10 bins only when very high concentration was present. The out-of-range particles slightly changed the size distribution of the in-range particles, but their concentration was conserved. An approach to interpret and quantify the effects of the out-of-range particles on the LISST measurement was proposed.
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Rapid alterations to marine microbiota communities following an oil spill

Gemmell BJ, Bacosa HP, Dickey BO, Gemmell CG, Alqasemi LR, Buskey EJ. Rapid alterations to marine microbiota communities following an oil spill. Ecotoxicology [Internet]. 2018 :1-12. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Field data from the first several days after an oil spill is rare but crucial for our understanding of a spill’s impact on marine microbiota given their short generation times. Field data collected within days of the Texas City “Y” oil spill showed that exposure to crude oil can rapidly imbalance populations of marine microbiota, which leads to the proliferation of more resistant organisms. Vibrionales bacteria were up to 48 times higher than background concentrations at the most impacted sites and populations of the dinoflagellate Prorocentrum texanum increased significantly as well. Laboratory microcosm experiments with a natural plankton community showed that P. texanum grew significantly faster under oiled conditions but monocultures of P. texanum did not. Additional laboratory experiments with natural communities from Tampa Bay, Florida showed similar results although a different species dominated, P. minimum. In both cases, tolerance to the presence of crude oil was enhanced by higher sensitivity of grazers led to a release from grazing pressure and allows Prorocentrum species to dominate after an oil spill. The results suggest careful monitoring for Vibrionales and Prorocentrum during future spills would be beneficial given the potential implications to human health.
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Size Distribution and Dispersion of Droplets Generated by Impingement of Breaking Waves on Oil Slicks

Li C, Miller J, Wang J, Koley SS, Katz J. Size Distribution and Dispersion of Droplets Generated by Impingement of Breaking Waves on Oil Slicks. Journal of Geophysical Research [Internet]. 2017 :7938-7957. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This laboratory experimental study investigates the temporal evolution of the size distribution of subsurface oil droplets generated as breaking waves entrain oil slicks. The measurements are performed for varying wave energy, as well as large variations in oil viscosity and oil-water interfacial tension, the latter achieved by premixing the oil with dispersant. In situ measurements using digital inline holography at two magnifications are applied for measuring the droplet sizes and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) for determining the temporal evolution of turbulence after wave breaking. All early (2–10 s) size distributions have two distinct size ranges with different slopes. For low dispersant to oil ratios (DOR), the transition between them could be predicted based on a turbulent Weber (We) number in the 2–4 range, suggesting that turbulence plays an important role. For smaller droplets, all the number size distributions have power of about 22.1, and for larger droplets, the power decreases well below 23. The measured steepening of the size distribution over time is predicted by a simple model involving buoyant rise and turbulence dispersion. Conversely, for DOR 1:100 and 1:25 oils, the diameter of slope transition decreases from1 mm to 46 and 14 mm, respectively, much faster than the We-based prediction, and the size distribution steepens with increasing DOR. Furthermore, the concentration of micron-sized droplets of DOR 1:25 oil increases for the first 10 min after entrainment. These phenomena are presumably caused by the observed formation and breakup oil microthreads associated with tip streaming.
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