I was part of the first team of scientists to respond to the Refugio Oil Spill in May 2015. I hopped into my car and drove up the coast before they closed access to the beach and was able to photograph the path of the oil to the sea. The experience was captured by an LA Times reporter, and my photos were featured in an article by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.
I collected seawater immediately following the spill to study the microbial communities that respond to an acute pulse of oil (the 'oil microbiome'). Preliminary results indicate that microbes such as hydrocarbon degraders respond quickly to the presence of oil, and alter the natural assemblages of microbial communities.