An immense catastrophe

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused the largest accidental spill in history. During the three months it took to be blocked, the leak released nearly 5 million barrels of oil.

With immeasurable effects

The extent of damage and effects of the spill are not known accurately even today, for a simple reason: we do not know Gulf conditions before the spill.

Oil exploration in the Gulf continues to increase

as do the risks and and uncertainty. And it is to alleviate this need to know that a group of academic institutions came together to form the Gulf of Mexico Research Consortium (CIGoM, for friends).
Logo del CIGoM

The CIGoM seeks to better understand the Gulf's currents and biogeochemical processes, the beings that inhabit it, how a spill affects them, and even, how to stop or reverse the damage (some bacterias like to eat oil!)

In the beginning...

The Gulf of Mexico Research Consortium (CIGoM) was founded in 2015 as a consortium of scientific research and consulting services. It specializes in multidisciplinary projects related to potential environmental impacts of the oil and gas industry, in the marine ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico. This initiative arose from the shared ideas of a group of scientists and PEMEX's staff, due to the lack of information to understand and act in case of possible large scale oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.

Who is CIGoM?

The core of the consortium is composed by a group of experienced personnel, specialized and trained, including more than

Researchers actively involved


From the most recognized research and education Mexican institutions:

Logo Ciencias de la Atmósfera UNAM
Logo IBT UNAM Logo Geofísica UNAM Logo Ciencias del Mar UNAM


Las autopistas del sargazo en el Caribe mexicano

Eduardo Cuevas, Xavier Flores Vidal, Abigail Uribe Martínez, Noé Arias Martínez, Oscar Reyes-Mendoza y Laura Carrillo Uno de los mayores vacíos en el conocimiento sobre la dinámica espaciotemporal del sargazo pelágico son sus rutas de movimiento a escala local, así...

Veo, veo… ¿qué ves?, sargazo ayer, hoy y mañana también

Napoleón Gudiño Elizondo, Eduardo Cuevas y Abigail Uribe Martínez Entender el origen, la dinámica e impactos del sargazo pelágico requiere atención interdisciplinaria con perspectivas metodológicas distintas. Esbozamos una visión estratégica de ensamble de capacidades...

Lo que conocemos y desconocemos del sargazo y los nutrientes

El sargazo, una macroalga holopelágica parda del género Sargassum, crece en las aguas oligotróficas (bajas en nutrientes) del Atlántico norte, en el Mar de los Sargazos, posiblemente durante toda la historia del mismo océano. En la última década abunda en el Atlántico...

En búsqueda de patrones en la dinámica poblacional del sargazo

Jaime M. González Cano, Francisco Arreguín Sánchez y Jaime E. García Zúñiga En los últimos nueve años la palabra sargazo implica “problemas” e incertidumbre en las costas del Caribe mexicano. Año con año, la población que vive a lo largo de la costa de Quintana Roo,...

Length–weight relations of 39 continental-shelf anddeep-water fishes (Actinopterygii) from northwesternGulf of México

Authors: Chi-Espínola, Ariel A. ; Vega-Cendejas, M. Eugenia ; Hernández de Santillana, J. Mirella DOI: 10.3897/aiep.53.101788 AbstractFishes from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico were surveyed during four oceanographic campaigns (February and October 2016, June and...

Kukulcán, génesis, evolución y apocalipsis de un portador de sargazo

Fernando Andrade-Canto, Francisco Javier Beron-Vera, Josefina Olascoaga y Lorena Guerrero Moreno Fue al minuto 55 que un chaparrito y gordito se giró rápidamente y se llevó el balón desde la media cancha, sin que Hoddle, Reid, Sansom, Butcher y Fenwick se lo pudieran...

CONACYT / Ministry of Energy's Hydrocarbons Fund Project

Currently the CIGoM develops the project “Implementación de redes de observación oceanográficas (físicas, geoquímicas, ecológicas) para la generación de escenarios ante posibles contingencias relacionadas a la exploración y producción de hidrocarburos en aguas profundas del Golfo de México”. This initiative is financed by the Hydrocarbons Fund of the National Council of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Energy. The Hydrocarbons Fund has decided to invest 1500 million pesos, to develop and have ready in 2020, the baseline of the Gulf of Mexico; a monitoring system of the ocean and the atmosphere –through buoys, HF radars, gliders and remote sensing; a thorough understanding of the Gulf of Mexico streams and the behavior of oil in the event of spills; state of the art on the natural degradation of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico; and an ability to determine spill scenarios and their potential effect on ecosystems. The project has been organized around these five lines of research:

Oceanographic observation platforms

Physical and chemical conditions are studied (as are currents, climate, salinity levels, oxygen, CO2, among others) by means of buoys, submarine gliders and remote sensors, which will allow us to establish an early warning system in the event of a spill.

Baseline and environmental monitoring

Oceanographic campaigns are carried out to collect samples and evaluate changes in the marine environment and the species that inhabit it, from microorganisms to cetaceans. This to be able to compare the effects of possible contingencies with the current state of the ecosystem.

Circulation models and biogeochemistry

Seeks to create simulations that help predict the dispersion and natural degradation of hydrocarbons in the event of a spill, by means of mathematical models.

Natural degradation of hydrocarbons

The oil-degrading potential of some bacteria is analyzed, as a mechanism to mitigate a spill.

Spill scenarios

The potential consequences of a spill are examined through numerical models coupled with observations and field experiments.

Oceanographic observation platforms

Led by Dr. Francisco Javier Ocampo Torres, are a system of in situ and remote measurements of the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico. Among its uses is to provide information that can be used in the face of possible contingencies related to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons and other harmful substances in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.. This line of work includes various technologies such as Coastal Oceanographic Buoys (BOC), Oceanographic and Marine Meteorology Buoys (BOMM), Underwater Gliders (Gliders) and Remote Sensing (Radio escaterometers, radiometers and synthetic aperture radars).

Baseline and environmental monitoring

Under Dr. Sharon Herzka Llona, aims to establish a baseline of oceanographic , biogeochemical, key biological and ecological variables to assess impacts and design mitigation strategies in cases of large-scale spills, in the deep-water zone of the Gulf of Mexico. This objective will be achieved through the execution of oceanographic campaigns, the evaluation of the habitat use of species of importance for conservation such as sea turtles, cetaceans or larger pelagic fish, and monitoring of coastal ecosystems associated with seagrass beds.

Numerical models of circulation and Biogeochemistry

Led by Dr. Julio Sheinbaum Pardo, consists of integrating numerical circulation models with biogeochemical and ecological models within a system to examine the evolution, the destination and possible effects of significant oil spills, considering different scenarios (magnitude, locality, depth, seasonality, type of hydrocarbons) to generate risk maps and arrival times that can guide decision-making in the event of a real event.

Natural degradation of hydrocarbons

Led by Dr. Alexei Fedórovish Licea Navarro where the natural response capacity of the ecosystem to large-scale spills is studied, through the evaluation of physicochemical degradation capacity, microbiological and photochemical of different hydrocarbon fractions through studies under controlled and natural conditions. It is proposed to evaluate the microbiological degradation capacity of different Mexican crudes by the native microflora, through the application of remediation techniques.

Spill scenarios

Under Dr. Paula Pérez Brunius where the potential consequences of different oil spill scenarios are examined, considering the role of physical transport and dispersal processes on the destination of petroleum products in the western deep-water region of the Gulf of Mexico, and their potential impacts on the ecosystem at different temporal and spatial scales. The study will include field observations, as well as experiments and numerical simulations specifically designed for this purpose. There is a technological development component that includes an unmanned vehicle capable of throwing instruments adrift to mark a stain in the event of an accident..


Environmental Baseline Studies & Compliance Services

Baseline studies to determine initial environmental conditions prior to operations. Oceanographic Monitoring (physical, biogeochemical and biological). Environmental Impact Assessment. Environmental Impact Statement (Under environmental Mexican law).

Hydroacoustics & Shallow Seismic Exploration

Spatial Planning | Survey Design| Field Data Collection. Data Interpretation and Management | 2D and 3D Visualization. Images and Characterization of Hydroacoustics Plumes.

Metocean Monitoring

Oceanographic Buoys | Deep Sea Moorings | Low-Cost Surface Drifters. HF & Marine Radars (construction and operation). Remote sensing (satellite and aerial tele detection). Unmanned aerial vehicle to launch ultra-compact surface drifters. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (Gliders). Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV).

Circulation And Biogeochemical Numerical Models

Numerical modeling of Winds, waves, sea level and ocean current (forecasts and hind casts). Dispersion, transport and degradation of oil spills. Dispersion and transport of sediments, pollutants and objects. Applications to oil spill risk management..

Analysis Of Oil Spill Response Scenarios

In situ and laboratory experiments to measure the effect of oil on selected species . Vulnerability assessment.

Oil Degradation By Microbial Consortia

Bacterial Communities and Consortia Characterization by Metagenomics. Microbial Consortia. | Metagenomic libraries. Identification of Biosurfactants. Aerobic and Anaerobic Degradation of Petroleum Components by identification and characterization of industrially relevant enzymes. Detection and analysis of Sulfate Reducing Bacteria and Acid Producing bacteria.

Data Management & Visualization

Rigorous Data Analyses According to Strict Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA / QC). Data Management for Complex, High-Volume, Multi-Source Datasets. Document Access and Electronic Content Management Services. Secure, Web-Based Visualization (geoportal) of Spatial Data and Information, seafloor images and video, and historical baseline data. Cartography (spatial analysis, modeling, and mapping). Mapping of small scale vulnerable deep sea habitats for conservation.

Marine Sciences

Marine Biology | Fisheries Ecology | Underwater Archeology. Oceanography | Ocean Geology. Coastal Zone and Environmental Management. Biological and Chemical Sample Collection. Scientific Consultancy and Training. Marine Vertebrates Monitoring (Mammals, Turtles and Pelagic Fishes). Marine Conservation | Deep Sea Conservation.

Marine Operations

Metocean | Gliders | Deep Sea Moorings. Full water column oceanographic data acquisition. Design, installation,and maintenance of tide and meteorological stations. Integration of instrumentation and sensors through buoy-based systems, data processing, web display, storage and dissemination software. Radar scatterometers | Photo and Video Documentation. Surface Sediment Collection and Characterization.

Postgraduate Programs


Master's degree and Doctorate in Physical Oceanography, Marine Ecology and Life Sciences.


Master's degree in Marine Biology and Phd in Marine Sciences.


Master's degree and Doctorate in Coastal Oceanography.


Master's and Doctorate in Marine Sciences and Limnology, Biochemical Sciences, Earth Sciences.


Master and Inter-Institutional Doctorate in Science and Technology.