This introduction to the Special Feature presents the context for science during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, summarizes how scientific knowledge was integrated across disciplines and statutory responsibilities, identifies areas where scientific information was accurate and where it was not, and considers lessons learned and recommendations for future research and response. Scientific information was integrated within and across federal and state agencies, with input from nongovernmental scientists, across a diverse portfolio of needs-stopping the flow of oil, estimating the amount of oil, capturing and recovering the oil, tracking and forecasting surface oil, protecting coastal and oceanic wildlife and habitat, managing fisheries, and protecting the safety of seafood. Disciplines involved included atmospheric, oceanographic, biogeochemical, ecological, health, biological, and chemical sciences, physics, geology, and mechanical and chemical engineering. Platforms ranged from satellites and planes to ships, buoys, gliders, and remotely operated vehicles to laboratories and computer simulations. The unprecedented response effort depended directly on intense and extensive scientific and engineering data, information, and advice. Many valuable lessons were learned that should be applied to future events.
Lubchenco, J., McNutt, M. K., Dreyfus, G., Murawski, S. A., Kennedy, D. M., Anastas, P. T., … Hunter, T. (2012, December 11). Science in support of the Deepwater Horizon response. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1204729109