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Chennai Oil Spill

Our friends in India are battling a new oil spill that began in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 28, 2017.  The cargo ships BM Maple (UK flagged) and Dawn Kanchipuram (Indian flagged) collided about 4 km outside the mouth of Kamrajar Harbor, itself about 24 km north of Chennai Port, Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  The Dawn… Read more »

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This Toxic Tar

Spoiler Alert: Our experiments are showing tar balls washing up on our beaches to be toxic to our local sand crabs.  If you are looking for that info, scroll to the Tar’s Toxicity heading at bottom of this post.  If you want get a brief primer on Ecotoxicology, then start right here… A brief history of poisons: French… Read more »

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Our ROVs: Prowling for Oil

Note: This is a partial re-post with some modifications from my students’ Aerial and Aquatic Robotic Research Blog. Check out what my students are doing now and have been doing in recent months with these killer new tools here: The AARR PIRatE Lab Blog.  Several of them are exhibiting some of our flying and swimming units at the… Read more »

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KVTA Oil Spill Interview

This was my brief interview at the KVTA (AM1590, Ventura’s News Talk Radio) studios.  The recording sound is not fantastic as it was recorded off the radio 50 miles away, but it conveys our most recent observations.  

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Oil Seeps 101

We have been getting lots of inquires about this crazy tarballing going on across Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties.  I thought I would give a quick overview of tar balls in our part of the world; the Southern California Bight. Oil Seeps In Our History Oil has been deep underground for millions of… Read more »

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Tarring of Ventura

Quick field observations (note: these are field postings & formatting, etc. may be off) Beach surveys in Ventura County on May 30 We are seeing tar ball strand lines as the high tide retreats this morning.   Intermixed in these tar lines are dead sand crabs/carapaces. Tar balls not evident near Hueneme Pier but many… Read more »

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More Beaches Closed!

Holy cow!  It has been a crazy day.  One of our teams sampling Haskell’s Beach (near the Bacara Resort) north Coal Oil Point was basically given the boot.  Various clean-up teams are now sweeping the beaches from El Capitan to Goleta and the Incident Command has now shut down public access to all of those beaches. This… Read more »

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PIRatE Lab Tour

Here is a quick tour of our PIRatE Lab’s lab.  We have been getting several requests about our lab and decided to give you a sense of our set-up.     We’ve also had lots of questions about oil; what it looks like, what it smells like, and how sticky it is.  We have posted our… Read more »

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Oil at Coal Oil Point: Pipeline or Seep?

    The University of California’s Natural Reserve System (NRS) is an incredible network of protected areas spanning the state of California.  These areas provide much needed spaces wherein researchers can study California ecosystems minimally impacted (and yes, I know that is a relative term) by our voracious appetite to burn, pave, and manipulate all we… Read more »