MEDIA ADVISORY: Scientist to give first-hand account of oil spill plume research

News conference, webcast featuring Professor Samantha Joye

Athens, Ga. – One of the first scientists to discover deepwater plumes emanating from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig will discuss findings from her research expedition to the spill zone in a news conference tomorrow (June 8) at the University of Georgia.

Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, returned on Sunday from a two-week research expedition supported by the National Science Foundation on board the R/V F.G. Walton Smith. She will discuss her preliminary findings and take questions from the media at the news conference.

The news conference is at 10 a.m. in Masters Hall of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel on the UGA Campus in Athens. Reporters unable to attend can view a live stream at www.uga.edu.

A limited number of audio-only feeds is available on a first-come, first-served basis; call Sam Fahmy at 706/542-5361 today to reserve a line and obtain the conference code. Before and during the news conference, reporters can e-mail questions for Joye to answer at the news conference to sfahmy@uga.edu.

Joye is an expert in the cycling of nutrients, metals, and organic materials between the living and non-living components of the ecosystem (a field known as biogeochemistry) and microbial ecology, metabolism and physiology. She has conducted research in the Gulf of Mexico for about 15 years. When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, she was coordinating a research mission aboard a NOAA-funded research vessel that was just 8 miles from the disaster site. Researchers aboard the vessel shifted their focus to quantifying the impact of the oil spill on the area and discovered an oil plume estimated to be more than 15 miles long, 5 miles wide and some 300 feet thick at depths ranging from approximately 2,300 feet to 4,200 feet. On May 25, Joye and her team embarked on a two-week mission aboard the Walton Smith to document the plume’s distribution, to measure the activity of microbes that break down the oil, and to measure variables such as dissolved oxygen concentration. Since the discovery of the plumes was first reported, Joye has been featured in a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, the Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, ABC Good Morning America and CBS News. She has been updating the world on her research mission through her widely read blog, www.gulfblog.uga.edu/.

Note to editors: The Georgia Center is located on the corner of Lumpkin Street and Carlton Street. Parking is available in the South Campus Parking Deck off Lumpkin Street. For a campus map, see this link: http://maps.uga.edu/website/htmlviewer/hyperlink/viewer.htm