Experts available on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise to discuss scientific research into Gulf oil spill impacts

Where is the oil, and what effects is it having on the Gulf’s marine ecosystem?

Media release - September 22, 2010
GULF OF MEXICO – Greenpeace Research Director Kert Davies, and scientists Rainer Amon and Clifton C. Nunnally are currently on board the Arctic Sunrise and available for interview. The Arctic Sunrise is a 164-foot ice-class Greenpeace ship currently on a three-month expedition in the Gulf of Mexico to study the environmental impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

The independent scientific research team on board the Arctic Sunrise is studying the extent, composition and impacts of the oil and gas that has entered the Gulf’s deep water following the oil spill. Following the report released in early August by the National Incident Command that revealed that between three and four million barrels of oil remain in the Gulf environment, this research will make an important contribution to increasing our understanding of the environmental aftermath of the spill. The work will include documenting the status of the chemical and biological aspects of the Gulf’s waters, in order to assess the impact of the oil spill on the gulf ecosystems, gauging dissolved oxygen levels, and the ratio of stable carbon isotopes present in dissolved inorganic carbon chemicals, as a way to locate areas affected by the oil spill.


The Arctic Sunrise is performing transects of the Gulf in an area to the west of the Deepwater Horizon site, south of Texas and Louisiana, collecting water samples from depths of up to 1.25 miles. The ship will also spend time close to the disaster site, where the science team plans to take sediment samples, to find out how much oil has reached the sea floor and what effect it has had on the organisms that live there.

Kert Davies, Research Director at Greenpeace US will be available to discuss:

  • The ongoing effects of the disaster
  • The Arctic Sunrise three-month mission
  • What’s really happening in the gulf – compared to what BP or the government are saying
  •  The influence of big oil on US politics
  • Future alternatives to oil


Rainer Amon will be available to discuss:

  • The significance of his research into dissolved oxygen levels
  •  How his work complements that of other scientists
  • What the science will tell us
  • How, technically, the work is carried out
  • What they have discovered so far during this expedition
  • The potential impact on the Gulf ecosystem, based on findings


Cliff Nunally will be available to discuss:

  • The significance of his sediment research, and what the oil spill means for the Gulf ecosystem
  • How the team is working with other scientists to understand the oil spill effects
  • How his research is carried out
  • What he has learned so far


Kert Davies
Greenpeace US Research Director
Davies directs Greenpeace's research team. He works closely with investigative journalists and frequently represents Greenpeace at international climate negotiations and scientific conferences. Davies has also partnered with major global corporations to help them implement solutions to global environmental problems. In 2008, he served as part of a team that convinced Unilever to introduce the first climate-friendly freezers into the United States. He also created and runs the Greenpeace websites and blogs ExxonSecrets.org and PolluterWatch.org, which expose how ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and other polluters have attempted to influence the public debate about global warming and energy policy.

Since the BP oil disaster, Davies has been interviewed on PBS Newshour, CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera and quoted in major publications such the Washington Post. Kert Davies studied environmental studies at Hampshire College, and received his master's in environmental studies from the University of Montana in 1994.

Dr Rainer Amon
Associate Professor, Department of Marine Sciences, Texas A&M University, at Galveston, and Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University, at College Station

In June 2010, Dr Amon was on board the NSF vessel RV Cape Hatteras, tracing the movement of subsurface oil plume near to the Deepwater Horizon site. This time out, he will be studying the extent, composition and impacts of the oil and gas that has remained in the Gulf’s deep water, by gauging dissolved oxygen levels and stable carbon isotopes of dissolved inorganic carbon as a way to locate areas affected by the oil spill.

Dr. Amon holds a Ph.D. in marine sciences from the University of Texas and a Masters in Zoology from University of Vienna. After his Ph.D. Dr. Amon spent eight8 years as a researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany before accepting his position at TAMUG in 2003. He has worked extensively in the Arctic, using organic matter from Russian rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean, to trace pollution, the movement of water masses, and other environmental changes.  Amon has participated in numerous research expeditions to the Amazon River and the Arctic Ocean during his career.  More locally, Amon is a co-investigator to study the growth of E coli in Houston bayous by combining geochemistry with molecular ecology, a multiyear study funded by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality.

Clifton C Nunnally, Phd. Student in Oceanography, Texas A&M, at Galveston
Nunnally’s focus on board the Arctic Sunrise is on the sediment communities close to the Deepwater Horizon disaster site, where he will investigate whether oil has reached the bottom, and if it has, to examine the how it has affected the biota – such as marine invertebrates.

With a Bachelor Degree in Science from Abilene Christian University (1998) and a Masters from Texas A&M University (2003), Nunnally’s work has centered on two large oceanographic studies:  the Deep Gulf of Mexico Benthos (DGoMB) project which was a initial survey of deep-water habitats prior to the expansion of oil and gas exploration on the Northern Gulf of Mexico continental slope, and the physical and biological processes behind the Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’.  Clifton Nunnally also spends each summer at Alice Cover Research Station located near Simpson Bay in Prince William Sound, Alaska, where he focuses on benthic invertebrates such as clams and starfish, which sea otters feed on.

Contact:
Dave Walsh, Greenpeace Media Officer on board the Arctic Sunrise , , +31 20 712 2616
Molly Dorozenski, Greenpeace Media Officer in New York, , +1 917-864-3724

Please join us at http://greenpeace.org/usa/live on Friday, September 24th for a live video press/blogger briefing and Q&A with Greenpeace experts at the front lines of the campaign for clean energy future, including Greenpeace USA Research Director Kert Davies live from the ship.