Understanding how oil behaves over time is important in the remediation process after a spill event. This project seeks to investigate what role microbes play in the process of breaking oil down in newly and historically contaminated sediments.
Samples collected from contaminated sediments will be analyzed for their genetic content to identify microbial genes, pathways of oil degradation, and to assess their distribution across all samples. Models will be used to examine the relationship between the genes observed and the degradation rates of individual oil compounds.
These steps will provide information on the oil-degrading microbes present and their role in degrading oil in marine sediments in Alaska.