Dr. Jerald Schnoor
Participation year
Project title

  Reconnaissance of Louisiana salt marshes and impacts of crude oil on Spartina alterniflora


On April 20th 2010, the Deep Water Horizon Well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded.  Resulting is the worst environmental disaster in the United States' history.  The environmental impacts are wide reaching but for my research I focused on the salt marshes in Louisiana.

My research with Dr. Jerald Schnoor is focused on the potential of the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora's ability to phytoremediate Louisiana sweet crude oil.  June 21st -25th we observed and collected samples from the salt marshes located near Grand Isle.  We have acquired crude oil similar in quality to the oil coming out of the deep water horizon well, clean salt marsh soil samples, and contaminated salt marsh soil samples.  From this we will create a synthetic oil spill in the lab and analyze two things.  First, we will document the rate at which the oil is being degraded.  Second, we will determine the maximum toxicity level of oil the plants can survive in.  From this we will be able to inform policy decision and help aid the recovery of the Louisiana wetlands.  The research is ongoing and results will be known within the year.

University of Iowa