Gulf of Mexico Historic Shipwrecks Help Scientists Unlock Mysteries of Deep-Sea Ecosystems and Impacts from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
BOEM's "Gulf of Mexico Shipwreck Corrosion, Hydrocarbon Exposure, Microbiology, and Archaeology (GOM-SCHEMA) project" is examining historic shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico to help scientists unlock mysteries of deep-sea ecosystems and impacts from the 2010 oil spill. There are more than 2,000 known historic shipwrecks sitting on the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico, spanning some 500 years of maritime history: from the time of the 16th century Spanish explorers to the American Civil War and through the World War II era. In addition to their historical and cultural significance, historic shipwrecks also serve as artificial reefs, supporting a rich deep-sea ecosystem. BOEM and study partners are learning how the shipwrecks themselves and the diverse microbiological communities they support have been affected by the spill.