Category Archives: Gulf Oil Catastrophe

Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused widespread marsh erosion

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Photo source: ©© TedX

Excerpts;

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill six years ago caused widespread marsh erosion that may be permanent in some places, according to a new analysis of 270 miles of the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts.

At the hardest-hit of 103 Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) sites, where oil covered more than 90 percent of plants’ stems, widespread die-off of grasses at the marsh edge occurred, followed by up to two years of accelerated erosion as dying plant roots lost their grip on marsh soil…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (09-27-2016)

Effective monitoring to evaluate ecological restoration in the Gulf of Mexico

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Gulf Oil Spill Bird Treatment in Louisiana. Photo source: ©© Brian Epstein / IBRRC

Excerpts;

To improve and ensure the efficacy of restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following Deepwater Horizon — the largest oil spill in US history — a new report recommends a set of best practices for monitoring and evaluating ecological restoration activities.

The report finds that the majority of past U.S. restoration efforts have not been adequately monitored to assess or improve restoration efficacy. To date, monitoring activities have been dramatically underfunded, and very few programs monitor environmental and social results…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (07-26-2016)

BP Oil Spill Trashed More Shoreline Than Scientists Thought (04-20-2016)
The largest oil spill in U.S. history was even bigger than previously thought, at least in terms of the amount of coastline that was oiled, scientists report in a new study. The findings shed new light onto the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which began six years ago…

Gulf of Mexico perinatal dolphin deaths likely result of oil exposure, NOAA (04-12-2016)

5 Years after Deepwater Horizon, Wildlife Still Struggling Dolphins Dying in High Numbers; Sea Turtles Failing to Nest, Science Daily (03-31-2015)

BP’s Oiled Animals: Where Are They Now? MNN (04-18-2013)
Across the northern Gulf of Mexico, which absorbed 200 million gallons of crude oil in 2010, the disaster still isn’t over. This Earth Day marks its third anniversary, highlighting a gradual shift from in-your-face emergency to subtle, behind-the-scenes villain…

BP Oil Spill Trashed More Shoreline Than Scientists Thought

bp-oil-spill
Photo source: ©© TedX

Excerpts;

The largest oil spill in U.S. history was even bigger than previously thought, at least in terms of the amount of coastline that was oiled, scientists report in a new study. The findings shed new light onto the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which began six years ago Wednesday…

Read Full Article, National Geographic

Gulf of Mexico perinatal dolphin deaths likely result of oil exposure

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Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

By NOAA;

The increased number of stranded stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in the Gulf of Mexico from 2010 to 2013 was likely caused by chronic illnesses in mothers who were exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, scientists said today.

The paper, published in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, is part of an effort to explain the unusual mortality event in the Gulf involving bottlenose dolphins, between early 2010 and continuing into 2014. The investigations into both the fetal dolphin deaths, and the overall effects of the oil spill, are continuing. The long-term effects of the spill on dolphin reproduction are still unknown.

“Our new findings add to the mounting evidence from peer-reviewed studies that exposure to petroleum compounds following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill severely harmed the reproductive health of dolphins living in the oil spill footprint in the northern Gulf of Mexico,” said Dr. Teri Rowles, veterinarian, co-author on the study, and head of NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, which is charged with determining the causes of these events.

“In contrast to control populations, we found that Gulf of Mexico bottlenose dolphins were particularly susceptible to late term pregnancy failures, signs of fetal distress and development of in utero infections including brucellosis,” said Dr. Kathleen Colegrove, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and veterinary pathology professor at the University of Illinois Chicago-based Zoological Pathology Programoffsite link.

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A stranded dolphin in March 2013. Young bottlenose dolphins have been dying in areas affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)

Higher numbers in spill zone

Scientists saw higher numbers of stranded stillborn and juvenile dolphins in the spill zone in 2011 than in other years, particularly in Mississippi and Alabama. “The young dolphins, which died in the womb or shortly after birth, were significantly smaller than those that stranded during previous years and in other geographic locations,” said Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson, study co-author and veterinary epidemiologist from the National Marine Mammal Foundationoffsite link.

Bottlenose dolphins are pregnant for about 380 days, so stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in the early months of 2011 could have been exposed in the womb to petroleum products released the previous year. “Pregnant dolphins losing fetuses in 2011 would have been in the earlier stages of pregnancy in 2010 during the oil spill,” said Colegrove.

The researchers report that 88 percent of the stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in the spill zone had abnormal lungs, including partially or completely collapsed lungs. That and their small size suggest that they died in the womb or very soon after birth – before their lungs had a chance to fully inflate. Only 15 percent of stillborn and juvenile dolphins found in areas unaffected by the spill had this lung abnormality, the researchers said.

Severe lung and gland damage

A previous study from lead authors Venn-Watson and Colegrove revealed that non-perinatal bottlenose dolphins that stranded in the spill zone after the spill were much more likely than other stranded dolphins to have severe lung and adrenal gland damage “consistent with petroleum product exposure.”

The study team included researchers from the University of Illinois; National Marine Mammal Foundation; NOAA; the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of South Alabama; the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi; the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Animal Health Center in British Columbia; the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida; the University of Georgia; and the University of North Carolina.

This study was conducted in conjunction with the Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as the investigation into the northern Gulf of Mexico unusual mortality event. These results are included in the injury assessment documented in the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan. The marine mammal findings are found between pages 4-584 and 4-647. The restoration types laid out in the plan will address injuries to dolphins due to the oil spill.

Original Article And Learn More, NOAA

5 Years after Deepwater Horizon, Wildlife Still Struggling Dolphins Dying in High Numbers; Sea Turtles Failing to Nest, Science Daily (03-31-2015)

BP’s Oiled Animals: Where Are They Now? MNN (04-18-2013)
Across the northern Gulf of Mexico, which absorbed 200 million gallons of crude oil in 2010, the disaster still isn’t over. This Earth Day marks its third anniversary, highlighting a gradual shift from in-your-face emergency to subtle, behind-the-scenes villain…

Births Down and Deaths Up in Gulf Dolphins

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Photo source: ©© NOAA

Excerpts;

Scientists are reporting a high rate of reproductive failure in dolphins exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The team has monitored these bottlenose dolphins in heavily oiled Barataria Bay for five years following the spill. Their findings suggest that the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be long-lasting…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Killed Large Numbers of Dolphins, Study Suggests

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Photo source: ©© NOAA

Excerpts;

Large numbers of dolphins have died as a direct result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, new evidence suggests. Dead bottlenose dolphins stranded in the northern Gulf of Mexico since the spill have lung and adrenal gland injuries consistent with petroleum exposure, scientists have discovered…

Read Full Article, Guardian UK

Study Links BP Oil Spill To Dolphin Deaths, Guardian UK (12-18-2013)

BP Oil Spill May Have Contributed to Dolphin Deaths, Study Finds, LiveScience (Uploaded 07-22-2012)

5 Years after Deepwater Horizon, Wildlife Still Struggling Dolphins Dying in High Numbers; Sea Turtles Failing to Nest, Science Daily (03-31-2015)
A new report looks at how twenty species of wildlife are faring in the aftermath of the disaster…

BP’s Oiled Animals: Where Are They Now? MNN (Uploaded 04-18-2013)

Is Gulf Oil Spill’s Damage Over or Still Unfolding? National Geographic (15-14-2015)

Further Assessment Needed of Dispersants Used in Response to Oil Spills

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Plane Drops Dispersants on Oil Spill. Captions and Photo source: ©© NWF

Excerpts;

Experts argue for further in-depth assessments of the impacts of dispersants on microorganisms to guide their use in response to future oil spills. Chemical dispersants are widely used in emergency responses to oil spills in marine environments as a means of stimulating microbial degradation of oil. After the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010, dispersants were applied to the sea surface and deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the latter of which was unprecedented. Dispersants were used as a first line of defense even though little is known about how they affect microbial communities or the biodegradation activities they are intended to spur…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Oil Dispersant Used in Gulf Oil Spill Causes Lung and Gill Injuries to Humans and Aquatic Animals, University of Alabama at Birmingham (04-06-2015)
New research suggests that Corexit EC9500A, an oil-dispersal agent widely used in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, contributes to damage to epithelium cells within the lungs of humans and gills of marine creatures…

Scientists find damage to coral near BP well, (11-06-2010)
For the first time, federal scientists have found damage to deep sea coral and other marine life on the ocean floor several miles from the blown-out BP well, a strong indication that damage from the spill could be significantly greater than officials had previously acknowledged…

Oil Spill Dispersants Shifting Ecosystem Impacts in Gulf, Scientists Warn, The New York Times (07-30-2010)
A seemingly feel-good story showed up this week on the nation’s front pages and newscasts: The oil that befouled the Gulf of Mexico for 86 days is vanishing from the surface, leaving workers with little to clean. But scientists warn the oil’s ecological impacts are shifting, not ebbing, thanks to massive volumes of dispersants that have kept the crude beneath the waves…

First Study of Dispersants in Gulf Spill Suggests a Prolonged Deepwater Fate (01-27-2011)
To combat Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nearly 800,000 gallons of chemical dispersant were injected directly into the oil and gas flow coming out of the wellhead. Scientists begin to assess and to raise questions about what impact the deep-water residue of oil and dispersant, might have had on environment and marine life in the Gulf…

Gulf Oil Spill: Oil-Dispersing Chemicals Had Little Effect On Oil Surfacing, Science Daily (12-04-2012)
As the Deepwater Horizon incident unfolded, in an effort to prevent the oil from coming to the surface and reaching coastal and marsh ecosystems, chemical dispersants were injected at the wellhead. A new study is the first to examine the effects of the use of unprecedented quantities of dispersants, over such a prolonged period of time in the deep ocean…

Scientists and Academics Call For Immediate Halt of Chemical Dispersants in Gulf, The Ocean Foundation (07-26-2010)
Over 100 scientists and academic institution, research laboratory, conservation organization leaders plus human rights defenders from as far away as Norway and Greece have issued, July 18th, a joint Scientists Consensus Statement on the Use of Chemical Dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico calling for the US Administration to immediately halt chemical aerial spraying in the Gulf region. BP has used nearly two million gallons of Corexit chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the cleanup effort with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The massive volume of dispersants and the way they have been applied, both on the surface and one mile below the surface, is unprecedented. Once oil is dispersed in deep water, it cannot be recovered. The scientists believe the worst impacts of the disaster are yet to come, and without deliberate, independent scientific tracking and assessment, they could remain hidden…

NOAA Announces Long-Term Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Research Priorities

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An oiled shoreline habitat in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, in 2010. Credit: NOAA

Excerpts;

As part of the final version of the science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, NOAA announced 10 long-term research priorities in the Gulf of Mexico, including how the Gulf’s waters, natural resources, fisheries and coastal communities are all interconnected. NOAA’s program supports research on the Gulf’s long-term ecological sustainability and its fisheries…

Read Full Article, NOAA

Sixty-Seven Years of Oil and Gas Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

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Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Deepwater drilling is increasing in the Gulf. Oil companies say it’s safer now, but critics say spills are inevitable…

View Interactive Map and Read Full Article, National Geographic

Secrecy Shrouds Decade-Old Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico, ABC News
An Associated Press investigation has revealed evidence that an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico — that has gone largely unnoticed, despite creating miles-long slicks for more than a decade — is far worse than what has been publicly reported…

Federal records show steady stream of oil spills in gulf since 1964, Washington Post (07-24-2010)
The oil and gas industry’s offshore safety and environmental record in the Gulf of Mexico has become a key point of debate over future drilling, but that record has been far worse than is commonly portrayed by many industry leaders and lawmakers…