Crude Life: An Art and Science Investigation of Gulf of Mexico Biodiversity after the Spill
Tuesday, April 5, 12:15, Williams Center for the Arts 108
Join artist/ biologist Dr. Brandon Ballengée for an illustrated presentation of his artworks and research focused on the spill’s impact to Gulf of Mexico biodiversity.”
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill was the largest industrial petrochemical accident in the history of the United States and, because the spill occurred in the deep sea, its impact on the biota has been difficult to assess. The Gulf of Mexico is among the most important and biologically diverse marine environments in the world with an estimated 600-1000 species of fishes (77 of which are endemic) and new species being described every year. Likewise, Gulf seafood is an important source of food for millions of people in North America, and, as marine species migrate following the Gulf Stream, people throughout Europe rely on these fish for protein. As such, the DWH spill could not have occurred at a worse place, from an ecological and economic standpoint. A recent United States Congressional Report estimates that, after clean up efforts, almost half the oil (over 100 million gallons) remains in the Gulf and the long-term magnitude of the spill is not well understood.
Artist, biologist and environmental educator, Brandon Ballengée creates transdisciplinary artworks inspired from his ecological field and laboratory research. Currently he is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Biological Sciences Department at Louisiana State University studying the impact on fishes from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Since 1996, a central investigation focus has been the occurrence of developmental deformities and population declines among amphibians and other ectothermic vertebrates. From 2009 through 2015 he continued his amphibian research as a Visiting Scientist at McGill University (Montréal, Canada) and in 2011 he was awarded a conservation leadership fellowship from the National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen Program (USA). Ballengée’s art has been exhibited internationally, a mid-career retrospective of his work will open this fall at the University of Wyoming Art Museum. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Plymouth (England) in collaboration with the Hochschule für Gestaltung Zürich (Switzerland).