Science and the vested interest

A headline science paper on ScienceExpress today requires us to read the fine print. The study says oil-eating microbes have suddenly flourished as a result of the BP oil “spill” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Based on these results, the potential exists for intrinsic bioremediation of the oil plume in the deep-water column without substantial oxygen drawdown.

Translation supplied by the Associated Press:

Scientists also had been concerned that oil-eating activity by microbes would consume large amounts of oxygen in the water, creating a “dead zone” dangerous to other life. But the new study found that oxygen saturation outside the oil plume was 67-percent while within the plume it was 59-percent.

The fine print, however, is a caution to reserve judgment:

The research was supported by an existing grant with the Energy Biosciences Institute, a partnership led by the University of California Berkeley and the University of Illinois that is funded by a $500 million, 10-year grant from BP

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