Skip to Content

This browser does not support Cascading Style Sheets.



Student Spotlight

Alumna Profile: Heather Ballestero

Degree: Natural Resources and Environmental Studies

Dissertation Title: Bacterial Biodegradation of Soluble Crude Oil Hydrocarbons and the Influence of Protists in Simulated Arctic Seawater and Sea Ice

Advisor: Nancy Kinner

Heather Ballestero
Description of Research

This study focuses on long term biodegradation studies of varying crude oil concentrations in different cold temperatures and high salinity regimes to mimic what would happen if oil were spilled in the Arctic oceans and froze into the Sea Ice, concentrating the oil in ice brine channels.  The microbial populations are monitored to see the relationship between the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations, bacterial counts, and the protest counts (prey on bacteria).  The water soluble fractions of oil (PAH) are analyzed over time with a gas chromatograph- flame ionization detector (GC-FID) and the microbes are counted using epifluorescent microscopy techniques. 

Selected Presentations and Publications
International Oil Spill Conference in Oregon, May 2011

Ph.D. Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at UNH, 2013
B.A. Environmental Studies, B.A. Anthropology at UCSC, 2007
M.S. Natural Resources, at UNH, 2009

Related Links