November 5, 2010

Corals Could Be Dying From BP Oil Spill

Federal scientists have found that the oil spill caused by BP in the Gulf of Mexico may have caused damage to deep sea corals and other marine life several miles away.

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) along with Penn State University and others examined the coral.

Scientists said they took remotely operated vehicles down to 4,600 feet and about seven miles from the BP well to find dead and dying corals.  They said that some appeared to be coated with a "brown substance."

Further surveys will be needed in order to determine if the brown substance is oil, and if BP's oil well was the cause.

The Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded in April, killing 11 workers and causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco told the Associated Press the government is committed to ongoing research to determine the extent of the damage the oil spill caused.


Image Caption: A single colony of coral with dying and dead sections (on left), apparently living tissue (top right) and bare skeleton with very sickly looking brittle star on the base. Credit: Image courtesy of Lophelia II 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER/BOEMRE.


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