DEEPEND|RESTORE is a 47-member, 11-institution research program funded by NOAA's RESTORE Science Program that expands upon the decade-long (2010-2020), open-ocean Gulf of Mexico research conducted during the NOAA-supported Offshore Nekton Sampling and Analysis Program (ONSAP) and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative-funded Deep-Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico (DEEPEND) Consortium. This project aims to identify/quantify long-term trends in the offshore fauna (fishes, shrimps, and cephalopods) of the Gulf of Mexico. Further, DEEPEND will integrate this information with ongoing resource management in the Gulf of Mexico. This management includes economically and ecologically important pelagic fishes as well as marine mammals, sea birds, and sea turtles. In addition to baseline assessments, DEEPEND will identify key drivers of offshore assemblages, develop an ‘indicator species plan’ for detecting anthropogenic changes, and assemble a faunal inventory for the oceanic Gulf of Mexico. To learn more about our mission, team, research, products, and management applications, please dive into the rest of the DEEPEND|RESTORE website. 


04 June 2022

From Armatus Oceanic Listen to Podcast here We have a confession to make. We talk a big game about how we are busting myths, tackling deep-sea tropes and showing the deep ocean as it really is… but w...

Population Genomic Dynamics of Mesopelagic Lanternfishes

13 May 2022
Population Genomic Dynamics of Mesopelagic Lanternfishes

Assessing the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DWHOS) on deep-sea fish assemblages of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has been hindered by an absence of baseline (pre-spill) data concerning the po...

Special Issue of Oceanography magazine

14 July 2021
Special Issue of Oceanography magazine

DEEPEND is so pleased to share this special issue of Oceanography magazine dedicated to ten years of GoMRI science! You can access the electronic version of the issue here. The issue is the culminati...


DEEPEND-RESTORE Cruise on board the R/V Point Sur

(click dots to see updates)




( click dots to see updates)

Today (April 20, 2020) marks the 10th year since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. Approximately 5 million barrels of hydrocarbons (oil) spilled into the Gulf for 87 days following the explosion, and since then, DEEPEND (along with several other consortia) have been researching the effects that the oil spill had on the Gulf’s entire ecosystem. Oil reached the seafloor, the open-ocean water column, coastal areas, continental shelf regions, and even was found in marshes and estuaries. “It was an entire Gulf of Mexico-wide event,” Dr. Tracey Sutton said in an interview with Oceana.

Often, people remember the oil that was visible at the surface; however, it’s important to know that 100% of the oil occurred within the water column and affected life throughout the entire ecosystem, especially in the poorly-studied deep pelagic environment ( > 200 m depth) where the Macondo wellhead broke (~1500 m depth).

“As far as we know, the actual impact of the spill is not over yet,” Dr. Tracey Sutton explained in Oceana’s interview.

In another interview with the Independent, Dr. Sutton stated, “In 2017, we were still finding oil contaminants in the eggs [of deep-sea organisms] above levels known to be sublethal for animals. We also saw an overall decline in animal numbers.”

With industry drilling deeper for resources, the risk of another spill occurring increases. Dr. Sutton told the Independent, “another deepwater spill is still very much a real possibility.”

Photo by: U.S. Coast Guard—Reuters/Landov