Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hi everyone! My name is Colbi Gemmell and I am the Outreach Coordinator for DROPPS. I conduct outreach and educational activities related to our research such as: K-12 classroom visits, participation in local events, keeping up with social media, and coordinating news about our team members. I have also been organizing the DROPPS reading group which is comprised of ten DROPPS graduate students, post-docs, and staff members. Participants are from the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (Hernando Bacosa, Meredith Evans, Brad Gemmell, Colbi Gemmell, and Tracy Harvey), Johns Hopkins University (Cheng Li and David Murphy), Texas Tech University (Maryam Jalali-Mousavi), and the University of Pennsylvania (Tagbo Niepa and Liana Vaccari).

In December of 2013, the DROPPS reading group began as a monthly meeting where members got together to discuss papers relevant to the field of oil spill science. After a few of these meetings, the group determined that we wanted to do more than simply discuss the current literature. DROPPS Research Associate Dr. Brad Gemmell came up with the idea of conducting an extensive oil spill literature review with the goal of putting together a publishable manuscript on global, long-term trends. The idea was based on reading groups that he had previously been involved in. The group agreed that this was an exciting direction that allowed group members exposure to a large portion of oil spill literature across a wide variety of years and disciplines. The group worked together to develop a plan for obtaining, analyzing and completing such a large literature review. 

After determining the keywords to use, important questions to be addressed and doing several rounds of controls to ensure consistency, the DROPPS reading group started the official literature review. Each participant had to review a predetermined number of papers for assigned years to ensure that we were reviewing at least 10% of the available literature during each 5-year period dating back to 1968. Data collection took a total of six weeks and included the review of approximately 1100 papers. Currently, participants are in the process of analyzing the data in order to start putting together the manuscript. We are really excited to see what story our data tells. 

Reading group members discuss oil spill papers during a recent meeting. 
Research sponsored by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative