During response operations, scientific information is provided to decision makers, such as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC), state and federal trustees, and the public. The decision to use chemical dispersants during a response is made among all these parties, and during the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill the dispersant discussion included both surface and subsurface application of chemical dispersants. This paper is intended to provide perspective on research needs considered pre- and post-DWH oil spill related to response modeling and data collection needs for decision support of dispersant application and its potential effects. Given time constraints for implementing models and sampling strategies for response, requirements for data and types of questions to be addressed may be significantly different than requirements for research or damage assessment activities. At the time of this writing, just over a year after the successful response operations to cap the well, many studies are still in progress, and data are still being collected and evaluated to assess dispersant effectiveness and possible impacts. More information and research results will become available over the next months to years. Thus these research needs, as summarized for this workshop, should be evaluated again at a later time.


Coastal Response Research Center

Publication Date


Workshop or Publication

Dispersant Initiative and Workshop “The Future of Dispersant Use in Spill Response”


Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC)

Document Type

White Paper