Chuck Fisher and his colleagues are currently exploring corals and their associates in the deep Gulf of Mexico. You can follow the cruise live at nautiluslive.org
This cruise is part of a larger research program focused on examining the ecosystem-level response to oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico.
The research group leading the cruise is called the Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs into the Gulf of Mexico (ECOGIG) Consortium, which is made up of scientists from a wide variety of disciplines studying current flow, ocean chemistry, microbial activity, deep-sea coral communities, and everything in between. ECOGIG, funded as a part of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), is studying both natural oil and gas seepage into the Gulf of Mexico and ecosystem responses and effects directly attributable to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The team will focus on deep-sea corals, animals that live on and around them, and their response to the oil spill. To do so, they will re-image as many as possible of the same corals that they have followed over the last 4 years and collect samples for analyses of coral and microbe response to natural seepage.