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Chemical evolution and plant-microbe degradation of petroleum in saline marsh plants and soils

Implementing Organization

Tulane University


DWH Project Funding


Known Leveraged Funding


Funding Organization

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)

Funding Program

Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative GoMRI Grant Program


Project Category


Project Actions

Chemical Aspects Research

Targeted Resources

Human and/or Institutional Capacity

Project Description

Preliminary research since the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill has shown that when coastal grasses are contaminated with petroleum, the bacterial communities in their tissues incorporate more taxa with known roles in biodegradation. The overall goal of this research is to develop a mechanistic understanding of plant bacterial symbioses in relation to petroleum/dispersant pollution in saline marshes. Our work will characterize the transport, fate and catabolic activities of bacterial communities in petroleum-polluted soils and within plant tissues. The project focuses on the microbial communities inside Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass), the foundational grass species within salt marshes along Atlantic and Gulf coasts.


Sunshine Van Bael
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