Dispatches E-News: How It Should Be Done, Fair Winds & Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom (10/17/18)

How It Should Be Done

Dr. Cynthia Smith leads the Dolphin Health Project, which focuses on adverse health effects on bottlenose dolphins living in the aftermath of Deepwater Horizon. Instead of examining the traditional exterior physical features and feeding ranges, she and her team use sonograms to look inside. Their findings will help inform policy and response efforts for marine mammals affected by future oil spills.

Tragic circumstances compelled the scientific response, but Dr. Smith discovered a silver lining: Interdisciplinary cooperation has led to more creative problem solving and has bonded the academic community in an unprecedented way. She’s hopeful that the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) consortium model will become the standard for future research.


GulfCast: The LASER Cruise: Calm Seas

The seas have calmed and the LASER crew is able to drop the drifters – about 1,000 in total. Their GPS chips will relay location data back to servers in Miami for the next three months. The data the team collects will go a long way towards improving computer models of ocean currents and hopefully mitigating effects of future oil spills.


The Recipe for a Harmful Algal Bloom

Many ingredients mix in the ocean to make toxic shellfish.

In 2015, 239 poisoned sea lions washed ashore on the California coast. The culprit? A single-celled organism one-tenth the width of a human hair. The microscopic organism is a tiny cell with a long Latin name: Pseudo-nitzschia. On its own, one Pseudo-nitzschia cell is harmless. But just as a hoard of ants can overrun your blanket and ruin your picnic, when tens of thousands of Pseudo-nitzschia grow quickly and concentrate in an area, they can poison seals, otters, dolphins, whales, and even people.

Photo courtesy of WHOI.


Dispatches from the Gulf 1: Science • Community • Recovery
In the years after Deepwater Horizon – the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history – a global team of scientists is working together to understand its environmental impact on humans, wildlife, and the ecosystem with the ultimate goal of learning how to better cope with future oil spills.
Click here to watch the trailer.

Dispatches from the Gulf 2: Research • Innovation • Discovery
Experience remarkable stories from the unprecedented scientific mission to study the continuing impacts of Deepwater Horizon find new ways to ease the devastation. Includes the never-before-documented drama of bottlenose dolphins struggling to survive, and the capture of one of the world’s largest predatory sharks.
Click here to watch the trailer.

Get Free DVDs (Dispatches 2)
DVDs of Dispatches 2 are available free of charge to educators, librarians, homeschoolers, and community activists.
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Stream Dispatches 1 & Short Videos
Digital versions of Dispatches 1 are available free of charge to educators, librarians, homeschoolers, and community activists.

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Dispatches short videos featuring human interest stories and exploring cutting-edge scientific case studies about the Gulf of Mexico are available on YouTube.

Listen to the Podcast
GulfCastthe Dispatches From The Gulf podcast — is available on the following platforms:

Host a Screening
Host a Dispatches screening at schools, libraries, universities, science centers, museums, community centers, or environmental organizations — especially around the anniversary of Deepwater Horizon (April 2018). Guest speakers and panelists can be arranged.
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Educational Materials
Supporting Dispatches educational materials including leaders’ guides, lesson plans, transcripts, posters, and student resources are available for download.
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Mensajes del Golfo de México
A Spanish subtitled version of Dispatches 1 is available via streaming.
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Access the Archive
Click here to access the Dispatches From The Gulf newsletter archive.

Dispatches is made possible by a generous grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI).
Additional funding provided by the Wallace Genetic Foundation and the Farvue Foundation.

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