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 are we?

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


Assessing the Effect of Chemical Dispersant Nokomis 3-F4 on the Degradation of a Heavy Crude Oil in Water by a Marine Microbial Consortium

Authors: María Magdalena Uribe-Flores, Ulises García-Cruz, Emanuel Hernández-Nuñez, Daniel Cerqueda-García, M. Leopoldina Aguirre-Macedo & José Q. García-Maldonado Abstract Degradation efficiency of a heavy crude oil by a...

Acute Exposure to Crude Oil Induces Epigenetic, Transcriptional and Metabolic Changes in Juvenile Sciaenops ocellatus

Authors: Mayra A. Cañizares-Martínez, Mercedes Quintanilla-Mena, Marcela Del-Río-García, Isajav Rivas-Reyes, María V. Patiño-Suárez, Victor M. Vidal-Martínez, M. Leopoldina Aguirre-Macedo & Carlos A. Puch-Hau Abstract In...

Morphological and molecular identification of Octopoda (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) paralarvae from the southern Gulf of Mexico

Authors: Santana-Cisneros, Mariana L., Rodríguez-Canul, Rossanna, Zamora-Briseño, Jesús Alejandro, Améndola-Pimenta, Monica, De Silva-Dávila, Roxana, Ordóñez-López, Uriel, Velázquez-Abunader, Iván y Ardisson, Pedro-Luis Abstract...

Vanadium and Cadmium in Shallow Marine Sediments: Spatial and Temporal Behavior in the Tamaulipas Continental Platform, Gulf of Mexico, Mexico

Authors: A. Dótor-Almazán, G. Gold-Bouchot, E. Lamas-Cosío, M. A. Huerta-Diaz, V. Ceja-Moreno, I. Oceguera-Vargas, O. Zapata-Pérez & F. Arcega-Cabrera Abstract: This study analyzed 27 surface sediment samples from the...

Bivalve Diversity on the Continental Shelf and Deep Sea of the Perdido Fold Belt, Northwest Gulf of Mexico, Mexico

Authors: Suárez-Mozo, N.Y., Vidal-Martínez, V.M., Aguirre-Macedo, M.L., Pech, D., Guerra-Castro, E. y Simões, N. DOI: Abstract: Mollusk diversity in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has been studied extensively, but this is...

Functional Groups of Metazoan Parasites of the Dusky Flounder (Syacium papillosum) as Bioindicators of Environmental Health of the Yucatan Shelf

Authors: Víctor M. Vidal-Martínez, Frank A. Ocaña, Lilia C. Soler-Jiménez, Jhonny Geovanny García-Teh, M. Leopoldina Aguirre-Macedo, Ana L. May-Tec, Flor Árcega-Cabrera & Jorge Herrera-Silveira DOI: Abstract We aimed to...

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 endeavour is financed by the Hydrocarbons Fund of the National Council of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Energy. The Hidrocarbons 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 –by buoys, HF radars, gliders and remote sensing; a deep understanding of the currents of the Gulf of Mexico and behavior of oil in case of spills; state of the art on 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

We study the physical and chemical conditions (such as currents, weather, levels of salinity, oxygen, CO2, among others) by means of buoys, underwater gliders and remote sensors, allowing us to establish an early warning system in case 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 is 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 dispersal and natural degradation of hydrocarbons in the event of a spill, by means of mathematical models.

Natural degradation of hydrocarbons

Analyzes the degrading potential of oil of some bacteria, 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, consists of a system of in-situ and remote measurements of the marine environment of the Gulf of Mexico. Within its purpose is to provide information to be used in possible contingencies related with 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), submarine gliders and remote sensing (radio escaterometers, radiometers and synthetic aperture radars).

Baseline and environmental monitoring

In charge of the Dr. Sharon Herzka Llona, it intends to establish a baseline of oceanographic, biogeochemical, ecological and biological key variables to assess impacts and design mitigation strategies in cases of spills of great scale, in the area of deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This objective will be achieved through the implementation of oceanographic expeditions, the evaluation of the use of habitat for species of conservation importance as sea turtles, whales or larger pelagic fish, and the monitoring of the coastal ecosystem associated to the meadows of seagrass.

Numerical models of circulation and Biogeochemistry

Led by Dr. Julio Sheinbaum Pardo, it strives to integrate numerical circulation models biogeochemical and ecological models within a system to examine the development, destination and possible effects of significant oil spills, considering different scenarios (magnitude, location, depth, seasonality, hydrocarbon type) to generate risk maps and arrival times that can guide decision making in the event of an actual event.

Natural degradation of hydrocarbons

In charge of Dr. Alexei Fedorovish Licea Navarro, studies the ecosystem's natural response capacity to large scale spills, through the evaluation of the physico-chemical, microbiological and photochemical degradation capacity of different fractions of hydrocarbons through studies under natural and controlled conditions. Also, inteds to assess the microbiological degradation of different Mexican crudes for the native microflora, through the application of remediation techniques.

Spill scenarios

In charge of Dr. Paula Pérez Brunius, the potential consequences of different oil spills scenarios are examined, considering the role of physical transport and dispersion processes on the destination of oil derivatives in the western deep-sea region of the Gulf of Mexico, and its possible 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 launching drifting instruments for marking a spot in the event of an accident.


Environmental Baseline Studies & Compliance Services

Baseline Studies to determine the 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.