We don’t see the sad pictures of birds covered with oil anymore in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The birds and beaches have been cleaned and TV ads extol the beauty of the Gulf Coast in a bid to get tourists to come back.
Today, Penn State researchers released these images, however, from a 2010 exploration. A dead or dying coral reef.
In an article in a scientific journal being published this week, the Penn State researchers said they didn’t expect the reefs to die from a typical oil spill
“These biological communities in the deep Gulf of Mexico are separated from human activity at the surface by 4,000 feet of water,” Helen White of Haverford College said. “We would not expect deep-water corals to be impacted by a typical oil spill, but the sheer magnitude of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its release at depth make it very different from a tanker running aground and spilling its contents. Because of the unprecedented nature of the spill, we have learned that its impacts are more far reaching than those arising from smaller spills that occur on the surface.”
Read more here.
Credit: Lophelia II 2010, NOAA OER, and BOEMRE, copyright WHOI