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]. :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.
Niepa THR, Vaccari L, Leheny R, Goulian M, Lee D, Stebe K. Films of Bacteria at Interfaces (FBI): Remodeling of Fluid Interfaces by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 7. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Bacteria at fluid interfaces endure physical and chemical stresses unique to these highly asymmetric environments. The responses of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 and PA14 to a hexadecane-water interface are compared. PAO1 cells form elastic films of bacteria, excreted polysaccharides and proteins, whereas PA14 cells move actively without forming an elastic film. Studies of PAO1 mutants show that, unlike solid-supported biofilms, elastic interfacial film formation occurs in the absence of flagella, pili, or certain polysaccharides. Highly induced genes identified in transcriptional profiling include those for putative enzymes and a carbohydrate metabolism enzyme, alkB2; this latter gene is not upregulated in PA14 cells. Notably, PAO1 mutants lacking the alkB2 gene fail to form an elastic layer. Rather, they form an active film like that formed by PA14. These findings demonstrate that genetic expression is altered by interfacial confinement, and suggest that the ability to metabolize alkanes may play a role in elastic film formation at oil-water interfaces.
Brakstad OG, Almas I, Krause DF. Biotransformation of natural gas and oil compounds associated with marine oil discharges. Chemosphere [Internet]. 182 :555-558. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Field data from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) suggested that oxidation of gas compounds stimulated biodegradation of oil compounds in the deep sea plume. We performed experiments with local seawater from a Norwegian fjord to examine if the presence of dissolved gas compounds (methane, ethane and propane) affected biodegradation of volatile oil compounds, and if oil compounds likewise affected gas compound oxidation. The results from the experiment showed comparable oil compound biotransformation rates in seawater at 5 °C between seawater with and without soluble gases. Gas oxidation was not affected by the presence of volatile oil compounds. Contrary to DWH deep sea plume data, propane oxidation was not faster than methane oxidation. These data may reflect variations between biodegradation of oil and gas in seawater environments with different history of oil and gas exposure.
Chu S, Prosperetti A. Bubble plumes in a stratified environment: Source parameters, intrusion height and neutral height. Physical Review Fluids [Internet]. 2 (10). Publisher's VersionAbstract
A cross-sectionally averaged model is used to study several aspects of the physics of a bubble plume rising in a stratified quiescent liquid. Scaling analyses for the peel height, at which the plume momentum vanishes, and the neutral height, at which its average density equals the ambient density, are presented. Contrary to a widespread practice in the literature, it is argued that the neutral height cannot be identified with the experimentally reported intrusion height. Recognizing this difference provides an explanation of the reason why the intrusion height is found so frequently to be much above predictions and brings the theoretical results in line with observations. The mathematical model depends on three dimensionless parameters, some of which are related to the inlet conditions at the plume source. Their influence on the peel and neutral heights is illustrated by means of physical considerations, scaling analyses, and numerical results.
Vaccari L, Molaei M, Niepa HRT, Lee D, Leheny R, Stebe JK. Films of bacteria at interfaces. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science [Internet]. 247 :561-572. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Bacteria are often discussed as active colloids, self-propelled organisms whose collective motion can be studied in the context of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. In such studies, the behavior of bacteria confined to interfaces or in the proximity of an interface plays an important role. For instance, many studies have probed collective behavior of bacteria in quasi two-dimensional systems such as soap films. Since fluid interfaces can adsorb surfactants and other materials, the stress and velocity boundary conditions at interfaces can alter bacteria motion; hydrodynamic studies of interfaces with differing boundary conditions are reviewed. Also, bacteria in bulk can become trapped at or near fluid interfaces, where they colonize and form structures comprising secretions like exopolysaccharides, surfactants, living and dead bacteria, thereby creating Films of Bacteria at Interfaces (FBI). The formation of FBI is discussed at air-water, oil-water, and water-water interfaces, with an emphasis on film mechanics, and with some allusion to genetic functions guiding bacteria to restructure fluid interfaces. At air-water interfaces, bacteria form pellicles or interfacial biofilms. Studies are reviewed that reveal that pellicle material properties differ for different strains of bacteria, and that pellicle physicochemistry can act as a feedback mechanism to regulate film formation. At oil-water interfaces, a range of FBI form, depending on bacteria strain. Some bacteria-laden interfaces age from an initial active film, with dynamics dominated by motile bacteria, through viscoelastic states, to form an elastic film. Others remain active with no evidence of elastic film formation even at significant interface ages. Finally, bacteria can adhere to and colonize ultra-low surface tension interfaces such as aqueous-aqueous systems common in food industries. Relevant literature is reviewed, and areas of interest for potential application are discussed, ranging from health to bioremediation.
Zhao L, Boufadel M, Katz J, Haspel G, Lee K, King T, Robinson B. A New Mechanism of Sediment Attachment to Oil in TurbulentFlows: Projectile Particles. Environmental Science & Technology. 51 (19) :11020–11028.Abstract
The interaction of oil and sediment in the environment determines, to a large extent, the trajectory and fate of oil. Using confocal microscope imaging techniques to obtain detailed 3D structures of oil–particle aggregates (OPAs) formed in turbulent flows, we elucidated a new mechanism of particle attachment, whereby the particles behave as projectiles penetrating the oil droplets to depths varying from ∼2 to 10 μm due to the hydrodynamic forces in the water. This mechanism results in a higher attachment of particles on oil in comparison with adsorption, as commonly assumed. The projectile hypothesis also explains the fragmentation of oil droplets with time, which occurred after long hours of mixing, leading to the formation of massive OPA clusters. Various lines of inquiry strongly suggested that protruding particles get torn from oil droplets and carry oil with them, causing the torn particles to be amphiphillic so that they contribute to the formation of massive OPAs of smaller oil droplets (<∼5–10 μm). Low particle concentration resulted in large, irregularly shaped oil blobs over time, the deformation of which without fragmentation could be due to partial coverage of the oil droplet surface by particles. The findings herein revealed a new pathway for the fate of oil in environments containing non-negligible sediment concentrations.
Gros J, Socolofsky S, Anusha D, Jun I, Zhao L, Boufadel M, Reddy C, Arey JS. Petroleum dynamics in the sea and influence of subseadispersant injection during Deepwater Horizon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 114 (38) :10065–10070.Abstract
During the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a substantial fraction of the 600,000–900,000 tons of released petroleum liquid and natural gas became entrapped below the sea surface, but the quantity entrapped and the sequestration mechanisms have remained unclear. We modeled the buoyant jet of petroleum liquid droplets, gas bubbles, and entrained seawater, using 279 simulated chemical components, for a representative day (June 8, 2010) of the period after the sunken platform’s riser pipe was pared at the wellhead (June 4–July 15). The model predicts that 27% of the released mass of petroleum fluids dissolved into the sea during ascent from the pared wellhead (1,505 m depth) to the sea surface, thereby matching observed volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions to the atmosphere. Based on combined results from model simulation and water column measurements, 24% of released petroleum fluid mass became channeled into a stable deep-water intrusion at 900- to 1,300-m depth, as aqueously dissolved compounds (∼23%) and suspended petroleum liquid microdroplets (∼0.8%). Dispersant injection at the wellhead decreased the median initial diameters of simulated petroleum liquid droplets and gas bubbles by 3.2-fold and 3.4-fold, respectively, which increased dissolution of ascending petroleum fluids by 25%. Faster dissolution increased the simulated flows of water-soluble compounds into biologically sparse deep water by 55%, while decreasing the flows of several harmful compounds into biologically rich surface water. Dispersant injection also decreased the simulated emissions of VOCs to the atmosphere by 28%, including a 2,000-fold decrease in emissions of benzene, which lowered health risks for response workers.
Williams AK, Bacosa HP, Quigg A. The impact of dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorous on responses of microbial plankton to the Texas City “Y” oil spill in Galveston Bay, Texas (USA). Marine Pollution Bulletin . 121 (1-2) :32-44.Abstract
Ongoing bioremediation research seeks to promote naturally occurring microbial polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) degradation during and after oil spill events. However, complex relationships among functionally different microbial groups, nutrients and PAHs remain unconstrained. We conducted a surface water survey and corresponding nutrient amendment bioassays following the Texas City “Y” oil spill in Galveston Bay, Texas. Resident microbial groups, defined as either heterotrophic or autotrophic were enumerated by flow cytometry. Heterotrophic abundance was increased by oil regardless of nutrient concentrations. Contrastingly, autotrophic abundance was inhibited by oil, but this reaction was less severe when nutrient concentrations were higher. Several PAH compounds were reduced in nutrient amended treatments relative to controls suggesting nutrient enhanced microbial PAH processing. These findings provide a first-look at nutrient limitation during microbial oil processing in Galveston Bay, an important step in understanding if nutrient additions would be a useful bioremediation strategy in this and other estuarine systems.
Zhao L, Boufadel MC, King T, Robinson B, Goa F, Socolofsky SA, Lee K. Droplet and bubble formation of combined oil and gas releases in subsea blowouts. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 120 (1-2) :203-216. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Underwater blowouts from gas and oil operations often involve the simultaneous release of oil and gas. Presence of gas bubbles in jets/plumes could greatly influence oil droplet formation. With the aim of understanding and quantifying the droplet formation from Deepwater Horizon blowout (DWH) we developed a new formulation for gas-oil interaction with jets/plumes. We used the jet-droplet formation model VDROP-J with the new module and the updated model was validated against laboratory and field experimental data. Application to DWH revealed that, in the absence of dispersant, gas input resulted in a reduction of d /react-text 50 react-text: 182 by up to 1.5 /react-text react-text: 183   /react-text react-text: 184 mm, and maximum impact occurred at intermediate gas fractions (30–50%). In the presence of dispersant, reduction in d /react-text 50 react-text: 260 due to bubbles was small because of the promoted small sizes of both bubbles and droplets by /react-text surfactants react-text: 262 . The new development could largely enhance the prediction and response to oil and gas blowouts.

Zhao L, Gao F, Boufadel C. M. Oil Jet with Dispersant: Macro-Scale Hydrodynamics and Tip Streaming. AIChE Journal [Internet]. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Modeling the movement of oil released underwater is a challenging task due to limitations in measuring the hydrodynamics in an oil-water system. In this work, we conducted an experiment of horizontal release of oil without and with dispersant. The model VDROP-J was used and compared to the model JETLAG, a miscible plume trajectory model. Both models were found to reproduce the oil jet hydrodynamics for oil without and with dispersant. The predicted DSD from VDROP-J matched closely observation for untreated oil. For oil with dispersant, experimental results have shown evidence that tip streaming occurred. For this purpose, a new conceptual module was developed in VDROP-J to capture the tip streaming phenomenon and an excellent match was achieved with observation. This study is the first to report tip streaming occurring in underwater oil jets, which should have consequences on predicting the DSD when dispersant are used on an underwater oil release. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2017
Kim D, Sengupta A, Niepa THR. Candida albicans stimulates Streptococcus mutans microcolony development via cross-kingdom biofilm-derived metabolites. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 7 (41332). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Candida albicans is frequently detected with heavy infection of Streptococcus mutans in plaque-biofilms from children affected with early-childhood caries, a prevalent and costly oral disease. The presence of C. albicans enhances S. mutans growth within biofilms, yet the chemical interactions associated with bacterial accumulation remain unclear. Thus, this study was conducted to investigate how microbial products from this cross-kingdom association modulate S. mutans build-up in biofilms. Our data revealed that bacterial-fungal derived conditioned medium (BF-CM) significantly increased the growth of S. mutans and altered biofilm 3D-architecture in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in enlarged and densely packed bacterial cell-clusters (microcolonies). Intriguingly, BF-CM induced S. mutans gtfBC expression (responsible for Gtf exoenzymes production), enhancing Gtf activity essential for microcolony development. Using a recently developed nanoculture system, the data demonstrated simultaneous microcolony growth and gtfB activation in situ by BF-CM. Further metabolites/chromatographic analyses of BF-CM revealed elevated amounts of formate and the presence of Candida-derived farnesol, which is commonly known to exhibit antibacterial activity. Unexpectedly, at the levels detected (25–50 μM), farnesol enhanced S. mutans-biofilm cell growth, microcolony development, and Gtf activity akin to BF-CM bioactivity. Altogether, the data provide new insights on how extracellular microbial products from cross-kingdom interactions stimulate the accumulation of a bacterial pathogen within biofilms.

Evans M, Liu J, Bacosa H, Rosenheim BE, Liu Z. Petroleum hydrocarbon persistence following the Deepwater Horizon oilspill as a function of shoreline energy. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 115 (1) :47-56. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An important aspect of oil spill science is understanding how the compounds within spilled oil, especially toxic components, change with weathering. In this study we follow the evolution of petroleum hydrocarbons, including n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and alkylated PAHs, on a Louisiana beach and salt marsh for three years following the Deepwater Horizon spill. Relative to source oil, we report overall depletion of low molecular weight n-alkanes and PAHs in all locations with time. The magnitude of depletion, however, depends on the sampling location, whereby sites with highest wave energy have highest compound depletion. Oiled sediment from an enclosed bay shows high enrichment of high molecular weight PAHs relative to 17α(H),21β(H)-hopane, suggesting the contribution from sources other than the Deepwater Horizon spill, such as fossil fuel burning. This insight into hydrocarbon persistence as a function of hydrography and hydrocarbon source can inform policy and response for future spills.

Davies EJ, Brandvik PJ, Leirvik F, Nepstad R. The use of wide-band transmittance imaging to size and classify suspended particulate matter in seawater . Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An in situ particle imaging system for measurement of high concentrations of suspended particles ranging from 30 lm to several mm in diameter, is presented. The system obtains quasi-silhouettes of particles suspended within an open-path sample volume of up to 5 cm in length. Benchmarking against spherical standards and the LISST-100 show good agreement, providing confidence in measurements from the system when extending beyond the size, concentration and particle classification capabilities of the LISST-100. Particle-specific transmittance is used to classify particle type, independent of size and shape. This is applied to mixtures of oil droplets, gas bubbles and oil-coated gas bubbles, to provide independent measures of oil and gas size distributions, concentrations, and oil-gas ratios during simulated subsea releases. The system is also applied to in situ measurements of high concentrations of large mineral flocs surrounding a submarine mine tailings placement within a Norwegian Fjord.

Murphy D, Gemmell B, Vacarri L, Li C, Bacosa H, Evans M, Gemmell C, Harvey T, Jalali M, Niepa THR. An in-depth survey of the oil spill literature since 1968: Long term trends and changes since Deepwater Horizon . Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 113 (1-2) :371-379. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In order to characterize the state of oil spill research and describe how the field has changed since its inception in the 1960s and since the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, we examined approximately 10% of oil spill literature (1255 of over 11,000 publications) published from 1968 to 2015. We find that, despite its episodic nature, oil spill research is a rapidly expanding field with a growth rate faster than that of science as a whole. There is a massive post-Deepwater Horizon shift of research attention to the Gulf of Mexico, from 2% of studies in 2004–2008 to 61% in 2014–2015, thus ranking Deepwater Horizon as the most studied oil spill. There is, however, a longstanding gap in research in that only 1% of studies deal with the effects of oil spills on human health. These results provide a better understanding of the current trends and gaps within the field.

Severin T, Bacosa HP, Sato A, Erdner DL. Dynamics of Heterocapsa sp. and the associated attached and free-living bacteria under the influence of dispersed and undispersed crude oil. Letters in Applied Microbiology [Internet]. 63 (6) :419-425. Publisher's VersionAbstract

While many studies have examined the impact of oil on phytoplankton or bacteria, very few considered the effects on the biological complex formed by phytoplankton and their associated phytoplankton-attached (PA) and free-living (FL) bacteria. However, associated bacteria can affect the physiology of phytoplankton and influence their stress responses. In this study, we monitored the growth of Heterocapsa sp., an armoured dinoflagellate, exposed to crude oil, Corexit dispersant, or both. Growth of Heterocapsa sp. is unaffected by crude oil up to 25 ppm, a concentration similar to the lower range measured on Florida beaches after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The PA bacteria community was resistant to exposure, whereas the FL community shifted towards oil degraders; both responses could contribute to Heterocapsa sp. oil resistance. The growth rate of Heterocapsa sp. decreased significantly only when exposed to dispersed oil at 25 ppm, indicating a synergistic effect of dispersant on oil toxicity in this organism. For the first time, we demonstrated the decoupling of the responses of the PA and FL bacteria communities after exposure to an environmental stress, in this case oil and dispersant. Our findings suggest new directions to explore in the understanding of interactions between unicellular eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

Significance and Impact of the Study

In the environment, oil spills have the capacity to modify phytoplankton communities, with important consequences on the food web and the carbon cycle. We are just beginning to understand the oil resistance of phytoplankton species, making it difficult to predict community response. In this study we highlighted the strong resistance of Heterocapsa sp. to oil, which could be associated with its resilient attached bacteria and oil degradation by the free-living bacteria. This finding suggests new directions to explore in the understanding of oil impacts and interactions between eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes.

Chu S, Prosperetti A. History effects on the gas exchange between a bubble and a liquid. Physical Review Fluids [Internet]. 1 (6). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Diffusive processes exhibit a strong dependence on history effects. For a gas bubble at rest in a liquid, such effects arise when the concentration of dissolved gas at the bubble surface, dictated by Henry's law, depends on time. In this paper we consider several such situations. An oscillating ambient pressure field causes the occurrence of rectified diffusion of gas into or out of the bubble. Unlike previous investigators, who considered the opposite limit, we study this process for conditions when the diffusion length is larger than the bubble radius. It is found that history effects are important in determining the threshold conditions. Under a static ambient pressure, the time dependence of the gas concentration can arise due to the action of surface tension, which increases the gas pressure as the bubble dissolves or, when the bubble contains a mixture of two or more gases, due to the different rates at which they dissolve. In these latter cases history effects prove mostly negligible for bubbles larger than a few hundred nanometers.

Molaei M, Sheng J. Succeed Escape: Flow shear promotes tumbling of Escherichia colinear a solid surface. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 6. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Understanding how bacteria move close to a surface under various stimuli is crucial for a broad range of microbial processes including biofilm formation, bacterial transport and migration. While prior studies focus on interactions between single stimulus and bacterial suspension, we emphasize on compounding effects of flow shear and solid surfaces on bacterial motility, especially reorientation and tumble. We have applied microfluidics and digital holographic microscopy to capture a large number (>105) of 3D Escherichia colitrajectories near a surface under various flow shear. We find that near-surface flow shear promotes cell reorientation and mitigates the tumble suppression and re-orientation confinement found in a quiescent flow, and consequently enhances surface normal bacterial dispersion. Conditional sampling suggests that two complimentary hydrodynamic mechanisms, Jeffrey Orbit and shear-induced flagella unbundling, are responsible for the enhancement in bacterial tumble motility. These findings imply that flow shear may mitigate cell trapping and prevent biofilm initiation.

Evans HB, Gorumlu S, Aksak B, Castillo L, Sheng J. Holographic microscopy and microfluidics platform for measuring wall stress and 3D flow over surfaces textured by micro-pillars. Scientific Reports 6 [Internet]. 6 (28753). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Understanding how fluid flow interacts with micro-textured surfaces is crucial for a broad range of key biological processes and engineering applications including particle dispersion, pathogenic infections, and drag manipulation by surface topology. We use high-speed digital holographic microscopy (DHM) in combination with a correlation based de-noising algorithm to overcome the optical interference generated by surface roughness and to capture a large number of 3D particle trajectories in a microfluidic channel with one surface patterned with micropillars. It allows us to obtain a 3D ensembled velocity field with an uncertainty of 0.06% and 2D wall shear stress distribution at the resolution of ~65 μPa. Contrary to laminar flow in most microfluidics, we find that the flow is three-dimensional and complex for the textured microchannel. While the micropillars affect the velocity flow field locally, their presence is felt globally in terms of wall shear stresses at the channel walls. These findings imply that micro-scale mixing and wall stress sensing/manipulation can be achieved through hydro-dynamically smooth but topologically rough micropillars.

Murphy DW, Xue X, Sampath K, Katz J. Crude oil jets in crossflow: Effects of dispersant concentration on plume behavior. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans [Internet]. 121. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study investigates the effects of premixing oil with chemical dispersant at varying concentrations on the flow structure and droplet dynamics within a crude oil jet transitioning into a plume in a crossflow. It is motivated by the need to determine the fate of subsurface oil after a well blowout. The laboratory experiments consist of flow visualizations, in situ measurements of the time evolution of droplet-size distributions using holography, and particle image velocimetry to characterize dominant flow features. Increasing the dispersant concentration dramatically decreases the droplet sizes and increases their number, and accordingly, reduces the rise rates of droplets and the upper boundary of the plume. The flow within the plume consists primarily of a pair of counterrotating quasi-streamwise vortices (CVP) that characterize jets in crossflows. It also involves generation of vertical wake vortices that entrain small droplets under the plume. The evolution of plume boundaries is dominated by interactions of droplets with the CVP. The combined effects of vortex-induced velocity and significant quiescent rise velocity of large (∼5 mm) droplets closely agree with the rise rate of the upper boundary of the crude oil plume. Conversely, the much lower rise velocity of the smaller droplets in oil-dispersant mixtures results in plume boundaries rising at rates that are very similar to those of the CVP center. The size of droplets trapped by the CVP is predicted correctly using a trapping function, which is based on a balance of forces on a droplet located within a horizontal eddy.

Bacosa HP, Thyng KM, Plunkett S, Erdner DL, Liu Z. The tarballs on Texas beaches following the 2014 Texas City “Y” Spill: Modeling, chemical, and microbiological studies. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 109 (1) :236-244. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We modeled the transport of oil, source-fingerprinted 44 tarball samples from Galveston Island (GV) and Mustang Island (MT), and determined the hydrocarbon and bacterial community composition of these tarballs following the 2014 Texas City “Y” Oil Spill (TCY). Transport modeling indicated that the tarballs arrived in MT before the samples were collected. Source-fingerprinting confirmed that the tarballs collected from GV and MT, 6 d and 11 d after the TCY, respectively, originated from the spill. Tarballs from GV showed 21% depletion of alkanes, mainly C9–C17, and 55% depletion of PAHs mainly naphthalenes, and dominated by alkane-degrading Alcanivorax and Psychrobacter. Samples from MT were depleted of 24% alkanes and 63% PAHs, and contained mainly of PAH-degrading Pseudoalteromonas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to relate oil transport, tarball source-fingerprinting, chemistry, and microbiology, which provides insights on the fate of oil in the northern Gulf of Mexico.