oil spills

Oil spills are an inevitable consequence of the world’s dependence upon oil and oil-based energy sources. Oil spills have dumped billions of gallons of oil into our oceans in recent history. Environmental microbiologists have been called upon to help clean- up the oil spills using microorganisms that metabolize byproducts of these spills. Research the following websites (and/or complete research on your own) and follow the directions below to complete your assignment.

Environmental Protection Agency website: http://www.epa.gov/

CNN News homepage: http://www.cnn.com/

Ecological Society of America: http://www.esa.org/

List of Ecology resources on the Web: http://pbil.univ-lyon1.fr/Ecology/Ecology-WWW.html

Ecology.com homepage: http://ecology.com/

Writing assignment: For this project, write a paper discussing the use of microorganisms to assist in the clean-up of oil spills in the ocean. Each answer should meet the minimum word requirement and should be in question and answer format. You should use in-text citations as needed and include a separate reference page of all sources consulted. Be sure to answer all parts of each question in full and complete sentences, and include a well-developed introduction and conclusion in your paper.

  1. Describe a particular organism (include the genus and species) and discuss its role in oil clean-up. Is it a naturally occurring organism or one that has been genetically modified? Has it been successful? If so, why has it been considered successful, and if not, why not? (75 word minimum)
  2. Discuss at least 2 pros and cons of using microorganisms to help clean up oil spills. Are there biological concerns? If so, what are they? Are microorganisms safer than alternative methods? Why or why not? (150 word minimum)
  3. Based on what you have learned, what is your personal opinion of the use of microorganisms to aid in the clean-up of oil spills? Discuss why you agree or disagree with their continued use. (75 word minimum)
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