Getting an Exclusive Look at the Largest Mexican Oceanographic Project


Rachel Holanda// SUT-US// Feburary 8th, 2018
SUT-US Brings the Largest Mexican Oceanographic Project to Houston
Participants of the SUT-US CIGoM Workshop. (Photo Credit: Patsy Ryhmes)
Houston, TX- At the start of the New Year, SUT-US’s recently established committee Group on Environmental Forces hosted a unique group of 8 researchers from CIGoM- the Mexican Research Consortium for the Gulf of Mexico, led by Dr. Juan Carlos Herguera. The occasion provided SUT-US’s professional community an opportunity to gain rare insight into the Gulf of Mexico’s physical, biological, and chemical characteristics as well as view the group’s projections and contingency plans of hydrocarbon spills’ impact, movement, and degradation processes.  
The research consortium CIGoM, composed of 11 well-established Mexican research institutes, undertook the largest oceanographic project ever conducted and funded in Mexico. The group’s three primary objectives are:
  • Perform physical, chemical, and biological measurements to establish a baseline for the present-state and the natural variability of the Gulf of Mexico’s greater ecosystem
  • Use and develop cutting-edge technologies to observe the surface ocean continuously and in some cases in real-time, which could be used in the case of an oil spill and, together with numerical models, could allow estimating its dispersion and possible consequences
  • Build physical, biogeochemical, and transport models of hydrocarbons, integrating the degradation process to generate risk maps, arrival times, and impact estimates in an efficient manner while taking into account the chemical characteristics of the hydrocarbons and the location and depth of possible large spills
CIGoM’s leading efforts in Mexico are complemented with additional collaborations and support of 10 leading American and European oceanographic research institutes and are possible through funding from the Mexican Science Foundation (CONACYT) and Mexico’s Department of Energy (SENER).
Introduction of the CIGoM Project
Dr. Juan Carlos Herguera (PI) introduces CIGoM project.  of the SUT-US CIGoM Workshop. 
(Photo Credit: Patsy Ryhmes)

The day long workshop included the leads of the main projects of the research areas: Observational Platforms, ROVs, and Gliders; Oceanographic and Ecosystem Baseline Studies and Monitoring; Ocean and Atmospheric Modeling; Biodegradation of Hydrocarbons; and Oil Spill Scenarios.
The SUT-US event sparked a unique exchange between the researchers and the SUT-US professional community, with over 20 participants from companies such as Chevron, Shell, Schlumberger, BHP, Fugro, TerraSond, Ocean Sierra, CSA, Integral Consulting Inc., Wood Hole Group, SAAB, Teledyne Technologies, MacArtney Underwater Technology, Sonardyne, and JASCO Applied Sciences.
Dr. Medina-Cetina, Chair and President of SUT-US stated “a follow-up effort from the workshop will be coordinated by SUT-US to foster short to long-term collaborations between the Society’s members and CIGoM” and thanked Texas A&M University’s Departments of Civil Engineering, Ocean Engineering, and the College of Geosciences for their support as co-sponsors of the workshop.

To see pictures from the event, please visit the flickr stream at

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