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Impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coral is deeper and broader than predicted

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posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 07:00 PM
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Impact of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coral is deeper and broader than predicted


A new discovery of two additional coral communities showing signs of damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill expands the impact footprint of the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery was made by a team led by Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University.

A paper describing this work and additional impacts of human activity on corals in the Gulf of Mexico will be published during the last week of July 2014 in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The footprint of the impact of the spill on coral communities is both deeper and wider than previous data indicated," said Fisher. "This study very clearly shows that multiple coral communities, up to 22 kilometers from the spill site and at depths over 1800 meters, were impacted by the spill."

The oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico has largely dissipated, so other clues now are needed to identify marine species impacted by the spill. Fisher's team used the current conditions at a coral community known to have been impacted by the spill in 2010 as a model "fingerprint" for gauging the spill's impact in newly discovered coral communities.

Unlike other species impacted by the spill whose remains quickly disappeared from the ocean floor, corals form a mineralized skeleton that can last for years after the organism has died. "One of the keys to coral's usefulness as an indicator species is that the coral skeleton retains evidence of the damage long after the oil that caused the damage is gone," said Fisher. The scientists compared the newly discovered coral communities with one they had discovered and studied around the time of the oil spill, using it as a model for the progression of damage caused by the spill over time. "We were able to identify evidence of damage from the spill in the two coral communities discovered in 2011 because we know exactly what our model coral colonies, impacted by the oil spill in 2010, looked like at the time we found the new communities."

Corals are sparse in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but because they act as an indicator species for tracking the impact of environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon blowout, the effort to find them pays off in useful scientific data. "We were looking for coral communities at depths of over 1000 meters that are often smaller than the size of a tennis court," said Fisher. "We needed high-resolution images of the coral colonies that are scattered across these communities and that range in size from a small houseplant to a small shrub."


I think we are only beginning to see the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill & won't know the full effects until much later (probably when it's too late)

It'll be interesting to see what else we learn as time passes & we search for evidence of the destruction. In the mean time, we need to be super careful with how we get oil & how we transport oil.

Imho, I think between Fukushima & the Deepwater Horizon spill, we've screwed things up in our oceans that will have a long term impact on everything.




posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 07:09 PM
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Well my two cats won't eat anything "fish" and their addiction was huge so I'm guessing no more good things come from the sea. Thanks BP and Tepco



posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 07:43 PM
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originally posted by: minkmouse
Well my two cats won't eat anything "fish" and their addiction was huge so I'm guessing no more good things come from the sea. Thanks BP and Tepco


That's interesting. I stopped eating seafood after the Fukushima disaster.
Also the messed up eyed shrimp after the Deepwater spill was a tad alarming



posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 08:42 PM
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Yes but those wonderful people from BP keep making commercials and telling us how much they care and that they give us jobs too. La la la, nice lady.



posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 09:02 PM
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I guess chemicals really are dangerous after all, and just think that republicans want to get rid of the clean air and clean water acts (and the EPA).



posted on Jul, 29 2014 @ 10:24 PM
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originally posted by: CB328
I guess chemicals really are dangerous after all, and just think that republicans want to get rid of the clean air and clean water acts (and the EPA).

There are clean air & clean water acts? Gee, I'd hate to see what it would be like without them. ((not being sarcastic, they just don't seem to really be that effective right now))




 
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