Breaking news from my lab bench this morning: I started processing our post-spill samples collected closest to the blown out Macondo well, and lo and behold–oil in the cores. I knew there was oil in the mud even before I saw the sheen, since the core smelled like diesel–I’ve smelled a lot of deep-sea mud from many different locations and I’ve never smelled anything like this odor before. Once I started decanting the meiofauna over the sieve, there were clearly oil droplets on the water surface (cue my frantic search for a camera, which I ended up stealing from our electrophoresis room):
This is a sub-core from a box core collected on Sept 26th at a depth of 1372 metres; the sample site is about 4 miles southwest of the well head:
I’ve got lots more samples to go, so I’ll keep posting pictures if I find more evidence of oil!