Conservation Lecture Series 
Thursday, April 11, 2013 7 PM 
FSUCML Auditorium

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: 
Molecules of the Deepwater
Horizon  Oil Spill 
By: Dr. Amy McKenna 
You might think all crude oil is the same, but on a molecular level, there can be tremendous differences. In fact, crude oil is the most complex substance Mother Nature has created - one sample might contain more than 300,000 different types of molecules!


The depletion of terrestrial global oil reserves has shifted oil exploration into offshore and ultra-deep water oil reserves to meet global energy demands. The explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon in April 2010 resulted in an estimated total release of ~5 million barrels of light, sweet crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and shifted attention toward the environmental risks associated with offshore oil production. The growing emphasis on deep water and ultra-deep water oil production poses a significant environmental threat. Every oil spill is unique. The molecular transformations that occur to petroleum after contact with seawater depend on the physical and chemical properties of the spilled oil, environmental conditions, and deposition environment. Knowing this helps researchers understand how it will break down, where it came from, and what impact it will have on the environment.

Upcoming Events  
Apr. 20 - FSUCML Biennial Open House, "The Ocean of Tomorrow"

May. 9
- Lecture by Dr. Dean Grubbs

Bio: Amy McKenna, Ph. D. 
Florida State University
In 2009, Dr. McKenna received a
Ph. D. in Analytical Chemistry from the Florida State University where she worked in the Marshall Research Group, located at the
Magnet Lab. Currently, she is a petroleum chemist at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.


Born in Ohio, Dr. McKenna has spent nearly her whole life within 20 miles of the Gulf of Mexico. Her research
has focused on petroleum characterization at the molecular level. In 2010, she was awarded a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation to apply the technique used in her research to address the degradation of petroleum released into the Gulf of Mexico by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Dr. McKenna currently manages the ICR user facility at the NHMFL, which serves between 50-150 scientists each year. She is also an avid supporter of the Magnet Lab public and educational outreach programs. 
Join us
after the talks for the opportunity to chat one-on-one with the speaker. If you have any questions, please contact Brittany Sims ( 
Help solve the hunger crisis in our community.  Bring non-perishable food to the lecture that we can pass on to Second Harvest.
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