In Press
Davies EJ, Brandvik PJ, Leirvik F, Nepstad R. The use of wide-band transmittance imaging to size and classify suspended particulate matter in seawater. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. In Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An in situ particle imaging system for measurement of high concentrations of suspended particles ranging from 30 lm to several mm in diameter, is presented. The system obtains quasi-silhouettes of particles suspended within an open-path sample volume of up to 5 cm in length. Benchmarking against spherical standards and the LISST-100 show good agreement, providing confidence in measurements from the system when extending beyond the size, concentration and particle classification capabilities of the LISST-100. Particle-specific transmittance is used to classify particle type, independent of size and shape. This is applied to mixtures of oil droplets, gas bubbles and oil-coated gas bubbles, to provide independent measures of oil and gas size distributions, concentrations, and oil-gas ratios during simulated subsea releases. The system is also applied to in situ measurements of high concentrations of large mineral flocs surrounding a submarine mine tailings placement within a Norwegian Fjord.

Evans M, Liu J, Bacosa H, Rosenheim BE, Liu Z. Petroleum hydrocarbon persistence following the Deepwater Horizon oilspill as a function of shoreline energy. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2017;115 (1) :47-56. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An important aspect of oil spill science is understanding how the compounds within spilled oil, especially toxic components, change with weathering. In this study we follow the evolution of petroleum hydrocarbons, including n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and alkylated PAHs, on a Louisiana beach and salt marsh for three years following the Deepwater Horizon spill. Relative to source oil, we report overall depletion of low molecular weight n-alkanes and PAHs in all locations with time. The magnitude of depletion, however, depends on the sampling location, whereby sites with highest wave energy have highest compound depletion. Oiled sediment from an enclosed bay shows high enrichment of high molecular weight PAHs relative to 17α(H),21β(H)-hopane, suggesting the contribution from sources other than the Deepwater Horizon spill, such as fossil fuel burning. This insight into hydrocarbon persistence as a function of hydrography and hydrocarbon source can inform policy and response for future spills.

Kim D, Sengupta A, Niepa THR. Candida albicans stimulates Streptococcus mutans microcolony development via cross-kingdom biofilm-derived metabolites. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2017;7 (41332). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Candida albicans is frequently detected with heavy infection of Streptococcus mutans in plaque-biofilms from children affected with early-childhood caries, a prevalent and costly oral disease. The presence of C. albicans enhances S. mutans growth within biofilms, yet the chemical interactions associated with bacterial accumulation remain unclear. Thus, this study was conducted to investigate how microbial products from this cross-kingdom association modulate S. mutans build-up in biofilms. Our data revealed that bacterial-fungal derived conditioned medium (BF-CM) significantly increased the growth of S. mutans and altered biofilm 3D-architecture in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in enlarged and densely packed bacterial cell-clusters (microcolonies). Intriguingly, BF-CM induced S. mutans gtfBC expression (responsible for Gtf exoenzymes production), enhancing Gtf activity essential for microcolony development. Using a recently developed nanoculture system, the data demonstrated simultaneous microcolony growth and gtfB activation in situ by BF-CM. Further metabolites/chromatographic analyses of BF-CM revealed elevated amounts of formate and the presence of Candida-derived farnesol, which is commonly known to exhibit antibacterial activity. Unexpectedly, at the levels detected (25–50 μM), farnesol enhanced S. mutans-biofilm cell growth, microcolony development, and Gtf activity akin to BF-CM bioactivity. Altogether, the data provide new insights on how extracellular microbial products from cross-kingdom interactions stimulate the accumulation of a bacterial pathogen within biofilms.

Severin T, Bacosa HP, Sato A, Erdner DL. Dynamics of Heterocapsa sp. and the associated attached and free-living bacteria under the influence of dispersed and undispersed crude oil. Letters in Applied Microbiology [Internet]. 2016;63 (6) :419-425. Publisher's VersionAbstract

While many studies have examined the impact of oil on phytoplankton or bacteria, very few considered the effects on the biological complex formed by phytoplankton and their associated phytoplankton-attached (PA) and free-living (FL) bacteria. However, associated bacteria can affect the physiology of phytoplankton and influence their stress responses. In this study, we monitored the growth of Heterocapsa sp., an armoured dinoflagellate, exposed to crude oil, Corexit dispersant, or both. Growth of Heterocapsa sp. is unaffected by crude oil up to 25 ppm, a concentration similar to the lower range measured on Florida beaches after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The PA bacteria community was resistant to exposure, whereas the FL community shifted towards oil degraders; both responses could contribute to Heterocapsa sp. oil resistance. The growth rate of Heterocapsa sp. decreased significantly only when exposed to dispersed oil at 25 ppm, indicating a synergistic effect of dispersant on oil toxicity in this organism. For the first time, we demonstrated the decoupling of the responses of the PA and FL bacteria communities after exposure to an environmental stress, in this case oil and dispersant. Our findings suggest new directions to explore in the understanding of interactions between unicellular eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

Significance and Impact of the Study

In the environment, oil spills have the capacity to modify phytoplankton communities, with important consequences on the food web and the carbon cycle. We are just beginning to understand the oil resistance of phytoplankton species, making it difficult to predict community response. In this study we highlighted the strong resistance of Heterocapsa sp. to oil, which could be associated with its resilient attached bacteria and oil degradation by the free-living bacteria. This finding suggests new directions to explore in the understanding of oil impacts and interactions between eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes.

Zhao L, Boufadel MC, Geng X, Lee K, King T, Robinson B, Fitzpatrick F. A-DROP: A predictive model for the formation of oil particle aggregates (OPA). Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2016;106 (1-2) : 245–259. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Oil–particle interactions play a major role in removal of free oil from the water column. We present a new conceptual–numerical model, A-DROP, to predict oil amount trapped in oil–particle aggregates. A new conceptual formulation of oil–particle coagulation efficiency is introduced to account for the effects of oil stabilization by particles, particle hydrophobicity, and oil–particle size ratio on OPA formation. A-DROP was able to closely reproduce the oil trapping efficiency reported in experimental studies. The model was then used to simulate the OPA formation in a typical nearshore environment. Modeling results indicate that the increase of particle concentration in the swash zone would speed up the oil–particle interaction process; but the oil amount trapped in OPAs did not correspond to the increase of particle concentration. The developed A-DROP model could become an important tool in understanding the natural removal of oil and developing oil spill countermeasures by means of oil–particle aggregation.

Zhao L, Boufadel MC, Adams E, Socolofsky SA, Lee K, Nedwed T. Simulation of scenarios of oil droplet formation from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Knowledge of the droplet size distribution (DSD) from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout is an important step in predicting the fate and transport of the released oil. Due to the absence of measurements of the DSD from the DWH incident, we considered herein hypothetical scenarios of releases that explore the realistic parameter space using a thoroughly calibrated DSD model, VDROP-J, and we attempted to provide bounds on the range of droplet sizes from the DWH blowout within 200 m of the wellhead. The scenarios include conditions without and with the presence of dispersants, different dispersant treatment efficiencies, live oil and dead oil properties, and varying oil flow rate, gas flow rate, and orifice diameter. The results, especially for dispersant-treated oil, are very different from recent modeling studies in the literature.

Murphy D, Gemmell B, Vacarri L, Li C, Bacosa H, Evans M, Gemmell C, Harvey T, Jalali M, Niepa THR. An in-depth survey of the oil spill literature since 1968: Long term trends and changes since Deepwater Horizon . Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2016;113 (1-2) :371-379. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In order to characterize the state of oil spill research and describe how the field has changed since its inception in the 1960s and since the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, we examined approximately 10% of oil spill literature (1255 of over 11,000 publications) published from 1968 to 2015. We find that, despite its episodic nature, oil spill research is a rapidly expanding field with a growth rate faster than that of science as a whole. There is a massive post-Deepwater Horizon shift of research attention to the Gulf of Mexico, from 2% of studies in 2004–2008 to 61% in 2014–2015, thus ranking Deepwater Horizon as the most studied oil spill. There is, however, a longstanding gap in research in that only 1% of studies deal with the effects of oil spills on human health. These results provide a better understanding of the current trends and gaps within the field.

Chu S, Prosperetti A. History effects on the gas exchange between a bubble and a liquid. Physical Review Fluids [Internet]. 2016;1 (6). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Diffusive processes exhibit a strong dependence on history effects. For a gas bubble at rest in a liquid, such effects arise when the concentration of dissolved gas at the bubble surface, dictated by Henry's law, depends on time. In this paper we consider several such situations. An oscillating ambient pressure field causes the occurrence of rectified diffusion of gas into or out of the bubble. Unlike previous investigators, who considered the opposite limit, we study this process for conditions when the diffusion length is larger than the bubble radius. It is found that history effects are important in determining the threshold conditions. Under a static ambient pressure, the time dependence of the gas concentration can arise due to the action of surface tension, which increases the gas pressure as the bubble dissolves or, when the bubble contains a mixture of two or more gases, due to the different rates at which they dissolve. In these latter cases history effects prove mostly negligible for bubbles larger than a few hundred nanometers.

Molaei M, Sheng J. Succeed Escape: Flow shear promotes tumbling of Escherichia colinear a solid surface. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2016;6. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Understanding how bacteria move close to a surface under various stimuli is crucial for a broad range of microbial processes including biofilm formation, bacterial transport and migration. While prior studies focus on interactions between single stimulus and bacterial suspension, we emphasize on compounding effects of flow shear and solid surfaces on bacterial motility, especially reorientation and tumble. We have applied microfluidics and digital holographic microscopy to capture a large number (>105) of 3D Escherichia colitrajectories near a surface under various flow shear. We find that near-surface flow shear promotes cell reorientation and mitigates the tumble suppression and re-orientation confinement found in a quiescent flow, and consequently enhances surface normal bacterial dispersion. Conditional sampling suggests that two complimentary hydrodynamic mechanisms, Jeffrey Orbit and shear-induced flagella unbundling, are responsible for the enhancement in bacterial tumble motility. These findings imply that flow shear may mitigate cell trapping and prevent biofilm initiation.

Evans HB, Gorumlu S, Aksak B, Castillo L, Sheng J. Holographic microscopy and microfluidics platform for measuring wall stress and 3D flow over surfaces textured by micro-pillars. Scientific Reports 6 [Internet]. 2016;6 (28753). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Understanding how fluid flow interacts with micro-textured surfaces is crucial for a broad range of key biological processes and engineering applications including particle dispersion, pathogenic infections, and drag manipulation by surface topology. We use high-speed digital holographic microscopy (DHM) in combination with a correlation based de-noising algorithm to overcome the optical interference generated by surface roughness and to capture a large number of 3D particle trajectories in a microfluidic channel with one surface patterned with micropillars. It allows us to obtain a 3D ensembled velocity field with an uncertainty of 0.06% and 2D wall shear stress distribution at the resolution of ~65 μPa. Contrary to laminar flow in most microfluidics, we find that the flow is three-dimensional and complex for the textured microchannel. While the micropillars affect the velocity flow field locally, their presence is felt globally in terms of wall shear stresses at the channel walls. These findings imply that micro-scale mixing and wall stress sensing/manipulation can be achieved through hydro-dynamically smooth but topologically rough micropillars.

Murphy DW, Xue X, Sampath K, Katz J. Crude oil jets in crossflow: Effects of dispersant concentration on plume behavior. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans [Internet]. 2016;121. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study investigates the effects of premixing oil with chemical dispersant at varying concentrations on the flow structure and droplet dynamics within a crude oil jet transitioning into a plume in a crossflow. It is motivated by the need to determine the fate of subsurface oil after a well blowout. The laboratory experiments consist of flow visualizations, in situ measurements of the time evolution of droplet-size distributions using holography, and particle image velocimetry to characterize dominant flow features. Increasing the dispersant concentration dramatically decreases the droplet sizes and increases their number, and accordingly, reduces the rise rates of droplets and the upper boundary of the plume. The flow within the plume consists primarily of a pair of counterrotating quasi-streamwise vortices (CVP) that characterize jets in crossflows. It also involves generation of vertical wake vortices that entrain small droplets under the plume. The evolution of plume boundaries is dominated by interactions of droplets with the CVP. The combined effects of vortex-induced velocity and significant quiescent rise velocity of large (∼5 mm) droplets closely agree with the rise rate of the upper boundary of the crude oil plume. Conversely, the much lower rise velocity of the smaller droplets in oil-dispersant mixtures results in plume boundaries rising at rates that are very similar to those of the CVP center. The size of droplets trapped by the CVP is predicted correctly using a trapping function, which is based on a balance of forces on a droplet located within a horizontal eddy.

Bacosa HP, Thyng KM, Plunkett S, Erdner DL, Liu Z. The tarballs on Texas beaches following the 2014 Texas City “Y” Spill: Modeling, chemical, and microbiological studies. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2016;109 (1) :236-244. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We modeled the transport of oil, source-fingerprinted 44 tarball samples from Galveston Island (GV) and Mustang Island (MT), and determined the hydrocarbon and bacterial community composition of these tarballs following the 2014 Texas City “Y” Oil Spill (TCY). Transport modeling indicated that the tarballs arrived in MT before the samples were collected. Source-fingerprinting confirmed that the tarballs collected from GV and MT, 6 d and 11 d after the TCY, respectively, originated from the spill. Tarballs from GV showed 21% depletion of alkanes, mainly C9–C17, and 55% depletion of PAHs mainly naphthalenes, and dominated by alkane-degrading Alcanivorax and Psychrobacter. Samples from MT were depleted of 24% alkanes and 63% PAHs, and contained mainly of PAH-degrading Pseudoalteromonas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to relate oil transport, tarball source-fingerprinting, chemistry, and microbiology, which provides insights on the fate of oil in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

Chu S, Prosperetti A. Dissolution and growth of a multicomponent drop in an immiscible liquid. Journal of Fluid Mechanics [Internet]. 2016;798 :787- 811. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The mass flux at the surface of a drop in an immiscible host liquid is dictated by the composition of the drop surface. In a binary system, this composition is essentially constant in time and equals the solubility of the drop constituent in the host liquid. This situation has been treated in a classic study by Epstein and Plesset (J. Chem. Phys., vol. 18, 1950, pp. 1505–1509). The situation is very different for ternary and higher-order systems in which, due to the mutual interaction of the drop constituents, their concentration at the drop surface markedly differs from the respective solubilities and depends on time. This paper presents a thermodynamically consistent analysis of this situation, for both growing and dissolving drops, with and without an initial concentration of the drop constituents in the host liquid. In some cases the results, which have important implications e.g. for solvent extraction processes in the chemical and environmental remediation industries, show major deviations from the predictions of approximations in current use, including simple extensions of the Epstein–Plesset theory.

Chu S, Prosperetti A. On flux terms in volume averaging. International Journal of Multiphase Flow [Internet]. 2016;80 :176-180. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This note examines the modeling of non-convective fluxes (e.g., stress, heat flux and others) as they appear in the general, unclosed form of the volume-averaged equations of multiphase flows. By appealing to the difference between slowly and rapidly varying quantities, it is shown that the natural closure of these terms leads to the use of a single, slowly-varying combined average flux, common to both phases, plus rapidly-varying local contributions for each phase. The result is general and only rests on the hypothesis that the spatial variation of the combined average flux is adequately described by a linear function of position within the averaging volume. No further hypotheses on the nature of the flow (e.g., about specific flow regimes) prove necessary. The result agrees with earlier ones obtained by ensemble averaging, is illustrated with the example of disperse flows and discussed in the light of some earlier and current literature. A very concise derivation of the general averaged balance equation is also given.

Zhao L, Shaffer F, Robinson B, King T, D'Ambrose C, Pan Z, Gao F, Miller RS, Conmy RN, Boufadel MC. Underwater oil jet: Hydrodynamics and droplet size distribution. Chemical Engineering Journal [Internet]. 2016;299 :292–303. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We conducted a large scale experiment of underwater oil release of 6.3 L/s through a 25.4 mm (one inch) horizontal pipe. Detailed measurements of plume trajectory, velocity, oil droplet size distribution, and oil holdup were obtained. The obtained experimental data were used for the validation of the models JETLAG and VDROP-J. Key findings include: (1) formation of two plumes, one due to momentum and subsequently plume buoyancy, and another due mostly to the buoyancy of individual oil droplets that separate upward from the first plume; (2) modeling results indicated that the traditional miscible plume models matched the momentum and buoyancy plume, but were not able to simulate the upward motion plume induced by individual oil droplets; (3) high resolution images in the jet primary breakup region showed the formation of ligaments and drops in a process known as “primary breakup”. These threads re-entered the plume to re-break in a process known as “secondary breakup”; (4) the plume velocity was highly heterogeneous with regions of high velocity surrounded by stagnant regions for various durations. The results from this study revealed that the primary breakup is a key factor for quantifying the droplet size distribution which plays a crucial role in determining the ultimate fate and transport of the released oil in the marine environment. The observed spatial heterogeneity in the oil plume implies that the effectiveness of applied dispersants may vary greatly when applying directly in the discharged oil flow.

Almeda R, Harvey TE, Connelly TL, Baca S, j> Buskey E. Influence of UVB radiation on the lethal and sublethal toxicity of dispersed crude oil to planktonic copepod nauplii. Chemosphere [Internet]. 2016;152 :446-458. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Toxic effects of petroleum to marine zooplankton have been generally investigated using dissolved petroleum hydrocarbons and in the absence of sunlight. In this study, we determined the influence of natural ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation on the lethal and sublethal toxicity of dispersed crude oil to naupliar stages of the planktonic copepodsAcartia tonsaTemora turbinata and Pseudodiaptomus pelagicus. Low concentrations of dispersed crude oil (1 μL L−1) caused a significant reduction in survival, growth and swimming activity of copepod nauplii after 48 h of exposure. UVB radiation increased toxicity of dispersed crude oil by 1.3–3.8 times, depending on the experiment and measured variables. Ingestion of crude oil droplets may increase photoenhanced toxicity of crude oil to copepod nauplii by enhancing photosensitization. Photoenhanced sublethal toxicity was significantly higher when T. turbinata nauplii were exposed to dispersant-treated oil than crude oil alone, suggesting that chemical dispersion of crude oil may promote photoenhanced toxicity to marine zooplankton. Our results demonstrate that acute exposure to concentrations of dispersed crude oil and dispersant (Corexit 9500) commonly found in the sea after oil spills are highly toxic to copepod nauplii and that natural levels of UVB radiation substantially increase the toxicity of crude oil to these planktonic organisms. Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of considering sunlight in petroleum toxicological studies and models to better estimate the impact of crude oil spills on marine zooplankton.

Zhao L, Boufadel MC, Lee K, King T, Loney N, Geng X. Evolution of bubble side Distribution from gas blowout in shallow water. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans [Internet]. 2016;10. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Gas is often emanated from the sea bed during a subsea oil and gas blowout. The size of a gas bubble changes due to gas dissolution in the ambient water and expansion as a result of a decrease in water pressure during the rise. It is important to understand the fate and transport of gas bubbles for the purpose of environmental and safety concerns. In this paper, we used the numerical model, VDROP-J to simulate gas formation in jet/plume upon release, and dissolution and expansion while bubble rising during a relatively shallow subsea gas blowout. The model predictions were an excellent match to the experimental data. Then a gas dissolution and expansion module was included in the VDROP-J model to predict the fate and transport of methane bubbles rising due to a blowout through a 0.10 m vertical ori- fice. The numerical results indicated that gas bubbles would increase the mixing energy in released jets, especially at small distances and large distances from the orifice. This means that models that predict the bubble size distribution (BSD) should account for this additional mixing energy. It was also found that only bubbles of certain sizes would reach the water surfaces; small bubbles dissolve fast in the water column, while the size of the large bubbles decreases. This resulted in a BSD that was bimodal near the ori- fice, and then became unimodal.

Almeda R, Connelly TL, Buskey EJ. How much crude oil can zooplankton ingest? Estimating the quantity of dispersed crude oil defecated by planktonic copepods. Environmental Pollution [Internet]. 2016;208 (B) :645-654. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We investigated and quantified defecation rates of crude oil by 3 species of marine planktonic copepods (Temora turbinataAcartia tonsa, and Parvocalanus crassirostris) and a natural copepod assemblage after exposure to mechanically or chemically dispersed crude oil. Between 88 and 100% of the analyzed fecal pellets from three species of copepods and a natural copepod assemblage exposed for 48 h to physically or chemically dispersed light crude oil contained crude oil droplets. Crude oil droplets inside fecal pellets were smaller (median diameter: 2.4–3.5 μm) than droplets in the physically and chemically dispersed oil emulsions (median diameter: 6.6 and 8.0 μm, respectively). This suggests that copepods can reject large crude oil droplets or that crude oil droplets are broken into smaller oil droplets before or during ingestion. Depending on the species and experimental treatments, crude oil defecation rates ranged from 5.3 to 245 ng-oil copepod−1 d−1, which represent a mean weight-specific defecation rate of 0.026 μg-oil μg-Ccopepod1 d−1. Considering a dispersed crude oil concentration commonly found in the water column after oil spills (1 μl L−1) and copepod abundances in high productive coastal areas, copepods may defecate ∼1.3–2.6 mg-oil m−3 d−1, which would represent ∼0.15%–0.30% of the total dispersed oil per day. Our results indicate that ingestion and subsequent defecation of crude oil by planktonic copepods has a small influence on the overall mass of oil spills in the short term, but may be quantitatively important in the flux of oil from surface water to sediments and in the transfer of low-solubility, toxic petroleum hydrocarbons into food webs after crude oil spills in the sea.

Murphy DW, Li C, d'Albignac V, Morra D, Katz J. Splash behavior and oily marine aerosol production by raindrops impacting oil slicks. Journal of Fluid Mechanics [Internet]. 2015;780 :536-577. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The high speed impact of a droplet on a bulk fluid at high We is not well understood but is relevant to the production of marine aerosol by raindrop impact on the sea surface. These splashes produce a subsurface cavity and a crown which closes into a bubble canopy, but a floating layer of immiscible oil, such as a crude oil slick, alters splash dynamics. The effects of oil layer fluid properties and thickness and droplet size and impact speed are examined by high speed visualization. Oil layer rupture and crown behavior are classified by dimensional scaling. The subsurface cavity volume for impact on thick layers is shown to depend on Re, though canopy formation at high Re introduces a competing We effect since rapid canopy closure is found to retard cavity expansion. Time-resolved kinematic measurements show that thin crude oil slicks similarly alter crown closure and cavity growth. The size and spatial distributions of airborne droplets are examined using high speed holographic microscopy. Droplets have a bimodal distribution with peaks at 50 and 225 μm and are clustered by size at different elevation angles. Small droplets (50 μm) are ejected primarily at shallow angles, indicating production by splashing within the first 100 μs and by breakup of microligaments. Larger droplets (225 μm) are found at steeper elevation angles, indicating later production by capillary instability acting on large ligaments protruding upward from the crown. Intermittent droplet release while the ligaments grow and sweep upward is thought to contribute to the size-dependent spatial ordering. Greater numbers of small droplets are produced at high elevation angles when a crude oil layer is present, indicating satellite droplet formation from ligament breakup. A crude oil layer also increases the target fluid Oh, leading to creation of an intact ejecta sheet, which then ruptures to form aerosolized oil droplets.

Zhao L, Boufadel MC, Adams E, Socolofsky S, King T, Lee K, Nedwed T. Simulation of scenarios of oil droplet formation from the Deepwater Horizon blowout. Marine Pollution Bulletin [Internet]. 2015;101 (1) :304-319. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Knowledge of the droplet size distribution (DSD) from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout is an important step in predicting the fate and transport of the released oil. Due to the absence of measurements of the DSD from the DWH incident, we considered herein hypothetical scenarios of releases that explore the realistic parameter space using a thoroughly calibrated DSD model, VDROP-J, and we attempted to provide bounds on the range of droplet sizes from the DWH blowout within 200 m of the wellhead. The scenarios include conditions without and with the presence of dispersants, different dispersant treatment efficiencies, live oil and dead oil properties, and varying oil flow rate, gas flow rate, and orifice diameter. The results, especially for dispersant-treated oil, are very different from recent modeling studies in the literature.