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As the nation’s experts on oceanic and atmospheric science, the lead science agency for oil spills — and the nation's steward for our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes — NOAA has been on the scene from day one, providing coordinated scientific, weather and biological information and products when and where they are needed most.
We have mobilized personnel from across the agency to contain and predict the spreading oil, ensure human health and safety, including the safety of seafood, and protect the Gulf of Mexico’s many marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, and other imperiled sea creatures. Here's a brief snapshot of some of NOAA's efforts and achievements in the first hours — and the first 100 days — of this aggressive and sustained federal response.
From the very beginning, NOAA has provided extensive scientific expertise and monitoring capabilities to inform daily response operations and to help quantify and better understand the impacts of the spill on the Gulf ecosystems — including its effects on the undersea world. NOAA’s information enables responders to anticipate where the oil is going and predict what areas could be impacted.
The work of NOAA people on-scene and at locations across the United States have helped federal response coordinators more effectively deploy resources to minimize damage and protect highly sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats. Our actions have ensured that the sustained federal response has been scientific, strategic and and efficient. An overview of NOAA's role in the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill response video.
NOAA issues daily 24, 48, and 72 hour surface oil trajectories. To respond to a spill, you must know where the oil is heading. During the first hours after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion on April 20, the U.S. Coast Guard requested help predicting the movement of the spreading oil, and NOAA was there. Two hours and 14 minutes later, NOAA issued the first of many spill trajectory maps to come. By that time, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) staff had been mobilized and its Seattle-based “war room” was up and running.
As of 100 days, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration modelers have produced more than 150 oil trajectory forecasts tracking the path of the oil and its location both near-shore and offshore, more than 50 shoreline-specific forecasts that delineate threatened shorelines over a three-day period and more than 30 forecasts for the Loop Current and the oil's proximity to the current.
NOAA satellite data support is critical to predicting oil movement. The first Satellite-Derived Surface Oil Analysis was issued by NOAA on April 22. Since then, 267 satellite analyses have been prepared to guide response operations and assist with trajectory modeling.
Federal responders look to NOAA for the latest gulf weather forecasts.
The National Weather Service’s Slidell, La. Weather Forecast Office issued its first “spot-weather” forecast within hours of the explosion. Since these early moments, NOAA’s National Weather Service has issued more than 3,000 spot weather forecasts which provide tailored, detailed weather information to the Unified Command in mission critical areas.
The National Weather Service dispatched Incident Meteorologists to Houma, La., to provide on-site meteorological support for the local Incident Management Team.
NOAA deployed a number of aircraft to the Gulf to collect information from the wellhead and nearby shorelines in support of both research and the response efforts. Since the start of the NOAA response, NOAA aircraft have flown 675.6 hours as of July 28. NOAA's fleet of research ships and aircraft are operated by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.
The Office of Response and Restoration began near-daily overflights on April 23 to characterize the location of the oil slick. Information they collected was fed back to NOAA’s oil trajectory modeling team in Seattle to help refine and update the daily trajectory maps.
For a bird’s eye view of the shoreline, NOAA’s King Air 350 collected aerial images of the spill and coastal areas in the Gulf of Mexico. These photos are compared to photos from previous mapping projects to help response personnel assess shoreline impacts and risks.
One of NOAA’s WP-3D aircraft flew research missions to learn more about the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current. Sensors dropped from the plane into the ocean helped scientists track the movement of the Loop Current so responders and officials in coastal areas all around the Gulf, better understand the likelihood of shoreline impacts.
A second WP-3D flew two specialized air quality missions near the spill site, supplementing the near constant monitoring being done by EPA. The high quality research instruments aboard NOAA’s flying laboratory provided further detail on the types and location of air pollutants around the spill site. (Data Report: Air Chemistry in the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Area)
NOAA collected historical information about conditions in the Gulf from its data archives, libraries and monitoring networks to inform modeling and projections as well as provide baseline information to which to compare new findings.
NOAA Office of Response and Restoration staff identified key historical reports on the occurrence of natural seeps, oil, tar and tar balls in the Gulf of Mexico. Knowing where other existing sources of hydrocarbons in the water are is critically important for NOAA scientists who are working tirelessly to understand where and how oil is moving below the surface in this unique deepwater spill.
“The most important thing we can do, above all else, is to bring to bear the absolute best science and services to inform the response and recovery efforts.”
— Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator
Following an oil spill, responders need information such as water levels, current speed and direction, wind speed and direction, and wave heights to predict where the oil is likely to go and best prepare and deploy response resources. The NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program is helping to bring this information together into one place so that it is easily accessible to those who need it in one coordinated place. This information is typically collected by a variety of organizations using satellites, buoys, tide gauges, radar stations, and underwater vehicles.
The Office of Coast Survey created a regional digital terrain model (DTM) specifically of the area to help modelers create more accurate ocean circulation models where they needed it most. The terrain model, which extends to the south and to the east of the BP drill site used bathymetric data of the seafloor collected by multibeam survey in the 1990s.
NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services continued to operate and maintain an extensive network of approximately 60 coastal measurement systems throughout the Gulf of Mexico to collect and provide information about how the water and wind are moving. Such information is needed to determine how oil will move.
NOAA-owned and sponsored research ships were deployed on very short notice to conduct high priority sampling and monitoring missions that were critical to an effective response and to better understanding of the impacts of the spill.
On May 6, the research vessel Pelican, operated by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium that was planning on going on a different NOAA-funded mission to explore deep sea corals, was redirected to collect seafloor and water column data from areas near the site of the oil spill. Information gathered on this early mission helped shed light on where and how oil was moving beneath the surface and helped refine sampling techniques for future missions.
On May 28, the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter was redirected from a sampling mission it was doing in the Gulf to help with oil spill research. Researchers used its sophisticated sonar equipment and other scientific instruments to help define the subsurface oil near the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill site and adjacent area. Testing out unique instrument combinations, data from this mission helped provide a snapshot of how and where oil was moving beneath the surface.
On June 3, NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson began an eight-day mission to deploy a variety of U.S. Navy ocean monitoring instruments in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill. The floats, drifters and gliders will aid researchers in monitoring the surface and deep currents that are distributing the oil. . Video of oil spill-related ship activities on NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson.
Following the June 3 mission the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson quickly arranged for additional equipment and scientists to give the ship the capability to search for subsurface oil. While operating near the spill site, the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson also collected data on air pollution resulting from the spill. The crew took at least one air sample every four hours to be analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (such as benzene) and carbon monoxide.
NOAA Ship Pisces has been supporting the Unified Command in its Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead integrity testing effort since July 14. The ship has been using sophisticated acoustic echo-sounders in the immediate vicinity of, and directly over, the well head. Data from the mission are currently being analyzed by the National Incident Command, NOAA and the University of New Hampshire daily as they monitor the cap on the wellhead.
On July 21, the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter deployed again to support the Unified Command in its wellhead integrity testing, monitoring for gas and oil releases in the immediate vicinity of the capped Deepwater Horizon/BP wellhead. The ship will alternate with another NOAA research vessel, Pisces, at the site and will continue to monitor the distribution of whales and dolphins when not at the wellhead.
We are extremely concerned about the impact of this spill on the men and women who make their living on the water. NOAA will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Gulf Coast fishermen and their families during these challenging times.
NOAA scientists have led the effort to quantify the extent of the Deepwater Horizon/BP catastrophe.
NOAA provides scientific support to the U.S. Coast Guard on cleanup options as well as advising all affected federal, state and local partners on sensitive marine resources at risk in the affected area of the Gulf of Mexico.
NOAA’s Drs. Bill Lehr and Robert Jones, along with other oil behavior experts, programmers from the U.S. Geological Survey, and statisticians from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, developed formulas and a computer model for the fate of the oil released from the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill. The model is being used by the National Incident Command to produce a daily oil budget that tracks the characteristics of the spilled oil. This information helps responders anticipate impacts and mobilize resources effectively.
NOAA leads the federal Joint Analysis Group (JAG), an interagency working group comprised of scientists from NOAA, EPA, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This group serves the critical function of coordinating and synthesizing information and findings from the many researchers collecting science data from below the Gulf surface. The Joint Analysis Group has issued two substantial reports thus far, one on June 23 and one on July 23, which provide a glimpse into the state of the sub-surface oil.
Upholding the highest standards of data quality, NOAA is making scientific reports and data from NOAA missions available online at NOAA.gov as quickly as possible.
On July 21, NOAA scientists released a data report on air quality measurements taken in June in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill area. The report summarizes the levels of nearly 100 air pollutants measured with sophisticated air sampling instruments onboard a NOAA WP-3D research aircraft.
NOAA's Science Missions & Data webpage contains links to two JAG reports, mission summaries from completed missions, data related to seafood safety sampling, water column sampling, air quality monitoring, National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) pre-assessment science and ocean currents.
On June 14, NOAA launched a new federal website meant to provide valuable information on the oil spill response with clarity and transparency — a one-stop shop for detailed near-real-time information about the response to the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill. The website incorporates data from the various agencies that are working together to tackle the spill.
NOAA is using the most high-tech methods available to peer beneath the surface of the Gulf. Using 10 underwater unmanned gliders combined with coastal high-frequency radar stations, NOAA’s IOOS® and its regional partners from across the nation have captured data that will assist in the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill response by locating and tracking oil at various levels in the water column, as well as on the Gulf surface.
Map and understand ocean currents: NOAA is making real-time data and model output available to help scientists, managers and decision makers, understand where oil and dispersants may spread over time. Scientists from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science onboard the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, the R/V F.G. Walton Smith, and the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster deployed probes near the location of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil rig to take temperature and salinity measurements at different depths that are critical to track and project where the oil is and where it could flow.
Assess Florida ecosystems impacts: NOAA-funded Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology is conducting a rapid response, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional expedition to assess the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill on Florida’s mid-level and deepwater coral ecosystems. The mission, aboard Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution’s R/V Seward Johnson, uses a manned submersible, called the Johnson-Sea-Link in which scientists can go down to depths of hundreds of feet to observe and take samples from deep sea coral systems. Data collected on this mission will help scientists assess potential impacts on the health of diverse ecosystems at the edge of the Florida Shelf.
Gulf of Mexico oil-related research clearinghouse: To further enhance the coordination of oil-spill research in the Gulf, Sea Grant, in collaboration with NOAA’s National Coastal Data Development Center, is developing and hosting a web-based clearinghouse that will provide a one-stop location for investigators and funding agencies to see what other research projects are ongoing. The web-based clearinghouse will enable users to enter information about current oil spill research or monitoring activities or perform searches and queries to access information that others had entered. The database now includes 84 project descriptions.
NOAA is working tirelessly to ensure habitats affected or lost due to an oil spill are allowed to flourish once again.
NOAA is the lead agency for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process helping identify and quantify short- and long-term impacts to the Gulf of Mexico’s thriving ecosystems. NOAA continues to collaborate with various federal and state agencies, industry, and citizens to collect data in the Gulf of Mexico and across the affected states to determine which natural resources have been harmed, which remain in jeopardy and which human uses have been lost.
Quantifying these impacts is critical to ensuring that there is a true understanding of the extent of the damages. This information is used to inform the restoration planning process and ensure people are compensated appropriately for losses.
Scientists are collecting thousands of samples to establish baseline measurements in the region that will help provide a before-and-after comparison should the oil reach the coasts and important ecosystems.
Within the first week of the spill, NOAA convened co-trustees to organize collaborative teams to coordinate data collection activities in the Gulf of Mexico and across the five Gulf states. Co-trustees include the United State Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The data collected in the early days, before oil reaches an area, provide a critical snapshot of what areas were like before they were impacted. Coordinating these collection efforts ensures the most efficient data collection.
By April 23, one day after the release was discovered, NOAA scientists began preassessment activities by identifying a range of potentially affected organisms, including fish, shellfish, bottom dwelling biota, birds, marine mammals and turtles. Sensitive habitats such as wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, beaches, mudflats, and deep and shallow corals were also categorized for further study. On any given day, more than 40 teams are in the field collecting data on these resources and their lost use.
As is the case across the federal government, NOAA will not rest until the oil is cleaned up, the environment is restored, and all those who have been harmed are compensated.
Multiple shoreline and submerged aquatic vegetation assessment teams have performed initial assessments of oiling at approximately 50 shoreline sites per day. To date, more than 1,800 linear miles of shoreline have been surveyed to assess habitat damages.
As of July 19, teams have collected more than 11,000 samples to assess where the oil is going and how the environment is being affected. The majority of these samples are from water and sediment with the remainder being from oil, tar balls, dispersants, and animal tissues. These data will contribute to the baseline analysis and damage assessment.
Natural resource economists play an important role in the NRDA work, quantifying the economic losses caused by the spill. Using flyovers to survey beach use and count the number of boats in the water in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, the economists will attempt to calculate the lost beach days, boat and shoreline fishing trips, and other valuable activities that have been hampered by the spill.
More than a dozen working groups of agency, trustee and responsible party scientists have worked together around the clock to gather historical and new information to establish pre-spill and post-spill impacts for marine life and habitats.
During the first weeks of the spill, three teams of scientists from NOAA’s Mussel Watch program led an effort collect pre-spill samples for water, sediment and oyster tissue from more than 50 sites from the Florida Keys to the Brazos River in Texas.
Because the effects of oil on estuaries can be particularly damaging, staff at the five Gulf Coast National Estuarine Research Reserves collected water and sediment samples to establish baseline measurements of contaminants, which will be useful to measure impacts should oil reach their bays and wetlands.
Driving thousands of miles throughout May and June, four teams of NOAA investigators and partners collected oyster, sediment, and water samples throughout coastal Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. In all, they sampled 60 sites to assess conditions in the region before any oil washed ashore. These data will provide critical background information to be used in the post-spill impact assessment phase.
NOAA staff in Florida and Texas, along with state and federal partners, are collecting data on the status of coral reefs in Florida Keys and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuaries. No oil from the Deepwater Horizon Spill has yet been detected in either sanctuary, but the data collected will help NOAA assess any impacts in the event that oil does reach these important ecosystems at a later date.
As stewards of our nation’s coasts, oceans and marine wildlife, NOAA is extremely concerned about the short-term and long-term impacts of the oil spill on the ecological health of the Gulf of Mexico and the nation.
Since the first week of the spill, NOAA seagrass ecologists at NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science have been participating on the submerged aquatic vegetation workgroup, and another has been participating in the shallow-water corals workgroup (both Natural Resource Damage Assessment).
On June 23 and 24, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration staff trained 22 personnel in Shoreline Assessment Cleanup Technique (SCAT) for the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill response. SCAT teams characterize oiled shorelines, make recommendations for cleanup, evaluate environmental sensitivities, monitor cleanup effectiveness and conduct final sign-off inspections. NOAA is responsible for supplying trained federal SCAT team members.
In mid-July, NOAA representatives began participating on a long term Gulf Coast restoration and recovery team led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Within this team effort, NOAA contributes to three subcommittees on science, governance, and project implementation by providing insight on available information and program infrastructure as well as gaps and barriers for Gulf restoration.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service is closely monitoring conditions in the Gulf and working with States and local fisherman to ensure that the seafood that is sold at market and served on America’s dinner plates remains safe. NOAA is working with the FDA, EPA and Gulf states to ensure that fish and shellfish harvested from the Gulf of Mexico are safe to eat and of the same high quality people have come to expect. These measures benefit both consumers and the families who make their living from the Gulf’s bounty.
One of the first lines of defense to ensure safe seafood enters the market is to monitor the location of oil and its presence in federal waters. If oil is present or threatens to enter a location, NOAA will proactively close that area to commercial and recreational fishing. NOAA has continuously evaluated the need for fisheries closures based on the nature of the spill and is re-evaluating the closed areas as new information becomes available.
On May 3, to ensure the safety of Gulf seafood, NOAA Fisheries Service closed any areas that were known to have oil in the water or projected to in the near future. NOAA closed 6,817 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico to commercial and recreational fishing— largely between Louisiana state waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River and waters off Florida’s Pensacola Bay.
On June 2, the area closed to commercial and recreational fishing was at its largest measuring 88,522 square miles, which is approximately 37 percent of Gulf of Mexico federal waters.
On July 22, NOAA reopened one-third of the previously closed federal waters to recreational and commercial fishing after consulting with the FDA and following the reopening protocol agreed to by the FDA and the states. Because NOAA followed the established protocol that ensures only safe areas are reopened, Gulf fisherman have access to valuable fishing grounds and consumers and fish sellers are protected knowing that only safe seafood is entering the marketplace.
“This event has highlighted the interconnectedness of the ocean environment with our day-to-day lives and the importance of ocean resources to American communities.”
—David Kennedy, NOAA National Ocean Service Acting Assistant Administrator and NOAA Deepwater Horizon Incident Commander
The Gulf’s fisheries — and its important species — are under critical observation by NOAA scientists and ships.
NOAA sent one of its top fisheries science directors, Nancy Thompson, Ph.D, director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, to the Gulf on May 11 to lead NOAA's effort to rapidly assess, test and report findings about risks posed to fish in the Gulf of Mexico by spill-related contaminants and cleanup activities. NOAA is using test results to make decisions about where and how fishing should be curtailed in the region affected by spill, and about whether seafood is safe for consumption.
On June 25, NOAA ship Delaware II departed Key West, Fla., to collect tunas, swordfish and sharks, to gather data about the conditions these highly migratory species are experiencing in waters around the Gulf of Mexico spill site. This information will be vital in determining the overall affects the spill may have on these fish stocks
NOAA Ship Pisces, one of NOAA’s newest research vessels, conducted surveys of reef fish, bottom-dwelling fish, and shrimp in the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico to sample for seafood and water quality and species abundance.
NOAA Ship Oregon II departed from its home port of Pascagoula, Miss., on July 26 to collect samples of fish and shrimp off Louisiana at depths between 30 and 360 feet. The samples will be tested for contaminants as part of the ongoing program that ensures that seafood harvested from the Gulf remains safe.
Oysters and other shellfish are also under NOAA’s surveillance and subjected to rigorous testing. Two teams of scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and Southeast Fisheries Science Center collected oysters and sediment from nearly 60 Gulf Coast shoreline sites stretching from the Texas/Louisiana border to southwestern Florida. The samples were tested for 120 chemical and microbial contaminants — including 60 oil-related compounds — to determine if they are tainted.
NOAA has employed another important tool in determining whether seafood is safe for sale and consumption: the human sense of smell. The presence of oil and dispersant chemicals can be sensed by specially trained seafood inspectors by sniffing the seafood.
In May and June, NOAA sensory experts trained 56 Gulf state employees as sensory screeners. Trained sensory screeners can detect taint in seafood down to about 10 parts per million.
Samples that are passed by state-level sensory screeners are sent forward for further evaluation by NOAA and FDA sensory experts, who have sensitivities down to about 1 part per million.
NOAA expertise and science, paired with long-standing partnerships with local and academic organizations, are critical to the long-term recovery of the Gulf of Mexico’s productive coastline, vibrant fisheries and thriving wildlife.
NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard have taken steps to curb illegal fishing in closed areas. Effective enforcement is ensuring that the only fish to reach the market is safe and healthy.
Actions taken by NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and the Coast Guard have led to 17 illegal catches being abandoned at sea. Since the first closure of federal waters to recreational and commercial fishing was announced on May 2, the agencies have worked together to patrol waters and docks to identify violations associated with the closure. This work ensures that fishermen abide by closed area restrictions, keeping tainted seafood from entering the marketplace.
From microscopic organisms to sperm whales to marshes to the deep ocean, Gulf Coast wildlife and habitats are better protected from the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon/BP disaster because of our efforts. As stewards of our nation’s coasts, oceans and marine wildlife, NOAA is vitally concerned about the short-term and long-term impacts of the oil spill on the ecological health of the Gulf of Mexico and the marine life it supports.
Over the past 100 days, NOAA experts have been working with a network of partners to rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles and marine mammals, as well as helping to determine the highest priority areas in need of direct response resources, such as the deployment of boom and shoreline cleanup crews.
NOAA and a network of federal, state and nonprofit partners are leading the way to ensure the survival of Gulf sea turtles through a well-coordinated rescue and rehabilitation effort.
On May 30, a 30-year-old giant loggerhead turtle weighing 136 pounds was found distressed and covered in oil. NOAA rescued the turtle and transported it to the Audubon Nature Institute where it was cleaned, given toxiban (activated charcoal), fluids and antibiotics. [Watch this Turtle Talk Town Hall video to learn more.]
NOAA sea turtle experts are members of the Incident Command’s Wildlife Branch that has deployed five turtle rescue boats in search for oiled turtles. To date, about 180 turtles have been rescued and 170 of those are currently alive and being rehabilitated.
NOAA Fisheries Marine Turtles webpage
From the earliest days of the response, NOAA’s Twin Otter aircraft has been providing aerial observations and surveys of marine life in and around the areas of the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill site, including dolphins, whales and sea turtles. Scientists are using information from these flights to see if marine mammals or turtles are being exposed to oil, to estimate short-term changes in number before and after exposure, and to examine changes in location and movement that may be associated with avoidance of oil near shore coastal and estuarine habitats.
NOAA scientists and ships are monitoring the Gulf to gather data on the ecological health of the Gulf of Mexico and the marine life it supports. This information is helping explain the current effects of the spill and will provide valuable data on the long-term impacts.
A multi-phase voyage onboard the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter is being conducted to assess oil exposure to endangered and protected marine mammals. Led by Dr. John Hildebrand of Scripps, Dr. Christopher Clark of Cornell and Dr. Bruce Mate of Oregon State University, this investigation involves a variety of methods to document marine mammal exposure to oil. These activities include assessing population demographics of sperm and Brydes whales, collecting habitat information, and sampling and tissue analysis of discovered carcasses.
NOAA Fisheries Service marine mammal biologists are conducting visual health assessments of the bottlenose dolphins inhabiting the Perdido Bay complex near Orange Beach, Ala., to see whether the dolphins are exhibiting any effects from the oil spill. NOAA Fisheries is coordinating with the Unified Command’s Vessel of Opportunity Program to use one of the local dolphin tour vessels registered with the program and assigned to the Wildlife Branch.
NOAA scientists and ships are studying and monitoring the Gulf, from the phytoplankton to the sperm whales, from the marshes to the deep ocean. On June 15, the NOAA Ship Pisces reported a dead sperm whale floating 77 miles due south of the Deepwater Horizon/BP spill site. NOAA is currently in the process of conducting thorough testing to determine the circumstances surrounding the mammal’s death, as well as collect information about its life. This information will provide clues to assess the possible effects of the oil spill on large mammals.