As volunteers train and policymakers debate, scientists are pooling their datasets for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is the behind the scenes portion of region-wide preparations for the impending arrival of oil on land. Along the Gulf coast states, researchers are offering years of sediment, water and plankton samples to the cause of assessing pre-impact conditions in the Gulf. Meanwhile, researchers from the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST) are collecting samples from the seafloor and water column closer to the source of the leaks.
As the oil leak continues, many of us feel helpless to mitigate the ecological impact of the spill. But this is just the beginning of the cleanup efforts and there is plenty that can be done right now. Here is the breakdown of what is currently being launched regarding response efforts for the Gulf oil spill, and what we can do to contribute.