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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the unprecedented injection of millions of liters of chemical dispersant at the wellhead generated large quantities of submillimeter oil droplets that became entrained in a deep sea plume. The unexpected generation of these droplets has resulted in many studies in the last decade aiming to understand their transport and fate during and after the spill. Complicating matters, the plume coincided with a microbial bloom, and in addition to ocean dynamics these droplets were subjected to biological processes such as biodegradation and microbial aggregation. A lack of field observations and laboratory experiments using relevant conditions has left our understanding of these biotic processes and the role they played in the fate of the oil droplets poorly constrained. Furthermore, while biodegradation has been incorporated into drop transport models using available data, the effects of microbial aggregation involving extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) on their transport has seldom been incorporated into modeling efforts particularly due to our lack knowledge of these processes. We use a microfluidic platform to observe bacterial suspensions interacting with a single ~200 μm oil drop in conditions relevant to the drop rising through the microbial bloom. We observe the development of individual, invisible bacterial EPS threads extending from the drop surface which can capture additional passing bacteria and form bacteria-EPS aggregates. Using high speed imaging, we make high resolution flow measurements both with and without EPS threads present and analyze the momentum balance to elucidate the hydrodynamic impact of these filaments. Surprisingly, these thin individual EPS filaments alter significantly the pressure field around the drop and increase the drag, which would drastically reduce the drop's rising velocity in the water column. We demonstrate that this mechanism which plausibly occurred in the deep sea plume would have major impacts on both the drop and bacteria transport during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The association between phytoplankton blooms and oil spills is still controversial despite numerous studies. Surprisingly, to date, there have been no studies on the effect of bacterial communities (BCs) exposed to crude oil on phytoplankton growth, even though crude oil changes BCs, which can then affect phytoplankton growth and species composition. Co-culture with crude oil-exposed BCs significantly stimulated the growth of Prorocentrum texanum in the laboratory. To gain more direct evidence, oil-degrading bacteria from oil-contaminated sediment collected after the Texas City “Y” oil spill were isolated, and changes in dinoflagellate growth when co-cultured with single bacterial isolates was investigated. The oil-degrading bacterial isolates significantly stimulated the growth of dinoflagellates (axenic and xenic cultures) through releasing growth-promoting substances. This study provides new evidence for the potential role of oil-degrading bacteria in the formation of phytoplankton blooms after an oil spill.
Bacteria are important examples of active or self-propelled colloids. Because of their directed motion, they accumulate near interfaces. There, they can become trapped and swim adjacent to the interface via hydrodynamic interactions, or they can adsorb directly and swim in an adhered state with complex trajectories that differ from those in bulk in both form and spatiotemporal implications. We have adopted the monotrichous bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA01 as a model species and have studied its motion at oil–aqueous interfaces. We have identified conditions in which bacteria swim persistently without restructuring the interface, allowing detailed and prolonged study of their motion. In addition to characterizing the ensemble behavior of the bacteria, we have observed a gallery of distinct trajectories of individual swimmers on and near fluid interfaces. We attribute these diverse swimming behaviors to differing trapped states for the bacteria in the fluid interface. These trajectory types include Brownian diffusive paths for passive adsorbed bacteria, curvilinear trajectories including curly paths with radii of curvature larger than the cell body length, and rapid pirouette motions with radii of curvature comparable to the cell body length. Finally, we see interfacial visitors that come and go from the interfacial plane. We characterize these individual swimmer motions. This work may impact nutrient cycles for bacteria on or near interfaces in nature. This work will also have implications in microrobotics, as active colloids in general and bacteria in particular are used to carry cargo in this burgeoning field. Finally, these results have implications in engineering of active surfaces that exploit interfacially trapped self-propelled colloids.
Inhalation of PM2.5, particles with an aerodynamic diameter <2.5 mm, from sea spray after crude oil spills could present serious health concerns. The addition of dispersants to effectively spread the crude oil throughout the water column has been practiced in recent years. Here, we investigated the possibility of an increase in the toxic content of fine PM after adding dispersant. A laboratory setup consisted of a vertical tank filled with seawater, 31.5 L airspace for aerosol sampling, and a bubble generating nozzle that aerosolized the oily droplets. Four different cases were studied: no slick, 0.5-mm-thick slick of pure crude oil (MC252 surrogate), dispersant (Corexit 9500A) mixed with crude oil at dispersant to oil ratio (DOR) 1:25, and DOR 1:100. The resulting airborne droplets were sampled for gravimetric and chemical analyses through development of a gas chromatography and mass spectrometry technique. Also, PM2.5 particles were size-fractioned into 13 size bins covering <60 nm to 12.1 mm using a low-pressure cascade impactor. The highest PM2.5 concentration (20.83 ± 5.21 mg/m3) was released from a slick of DOR 1:25, 8.83x greater than the case with pure crude oil. The average ratio of crude oil content from the slick of DOR 1:25 to the case with pure crude oil was 2.37 (1.83 vs 0.77 mg/m3) that decreased to 1.17 (0.90 vs 0.77 mg/m3) at DOR 1:100. For particles <220 nm, the resultant crude oil concentrations were 0.64 and 0.29 mg/m3 at DOR 1:25 and 1:100, both higher than 0.11 mg/m3 from the slick of pure crude oil.
In this work, a large-eddy simulation of bubble plumes in linearly stratified environments is presented. The gas bubbles are treated as Lagrangian particles. The intrusion and peeling are clearly manifested in the computed flow fields. The results of about 50 simulations with different parameters reveal the importance of bubble source area for plumes on the laboratory scale. A new type of bubble plume with rapid and distinct peelings is observed which is favored by large source areas. With a proper normalization, the present data points collapse onto a single straight line after applying a virtual-source correction which reflects the source-area effect. These results provide a plausible explanation for the scatter of the previous experimental and computational data in literature. A simple relation between the trap height and the peel height is observed and its mechanism is discussed