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Texas A&M University
News Release
Thursday, December 15, 2011

Texas A&M Oceanographer Kessler Named To Discover Top Stories Of 2011

COLLEGE STATION — Texas A&M University oceanographer John Kessler and his research findings during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been named one of Discover Magazine’s “Top 100 Stories of 2011.” 

Kessler and colleague David Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, published their work last January in the journal Science, which showed that tiny bacteria residing in the Gulf of Mexico waters rapidly removed more than 120,000 metric tons of methane. Calling the results "extremely surprising," Kessler explains that most hypotheses at the time were that methane would reside in the Gulf waters for years to come.

"The Deepwater Horizon disaster saw the release of many different oil and natural gas compounds of which methane was the dominant component,” he says.

“While our results indicate that nature helped clean up this disaster, that doesn't mean we can be cavalier with how we treat the environment." 

Kessler acknowledges that "this discovery was made possible with an excellent team composed of professors as well as graduate and undergraduate students from UC Santa Barbara, Texas A&M, and Texas A&M-Galveston."

Their work was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through a contract with Consolidated Safety Services Inc. and the Department of Energy.

To view the original story, go to

Last year, a news release about a Texas A&M biology researcher examining the male pipefish that gives birth was also named one of the Top 100 Discover stories. That story is at

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