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News for the corals in the Gulf – Deepwater Horizon 1 year later.

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 at 1:04 pm by
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Image courtesy of the lophelia.org [via BBC].

1 year after 205.8 million gallons of crude oil was released into the Gulf of Mexico test show the corals in the area are doing well. Oil was released for 3 months from the flowing well after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Charles Fisher of Penn State University led a research cruise finding evidence that some of the cold water corals my have been damaged by the oil spill.

A manned submersible Alvin made trips in the area in November of 2011 then again in December of 2011. During the December trip a time lapse camera was stationed to
document how the corals repair or deteriorate in response to the oil spill. The camera ran through February in an area 20 miles from the spill site. Scientist have not observed any obvious physical damage to the resident communities and found that the corals were behaving normal with no signs of distress. It is unclear if the corals have experienced any genetic damage or other damages that are not easily observed in the under water conditions. Time will tell.

Further details of the spill and impacts can be found on Wikipedia, the BBC , NOAA Plos Biology.

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