Scientists Find Damage to Coral — Essential to Marine Life — Near BP’s Oil-Spill Well

CoralThe Associated Press reports via CommonDreams:

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.

Tests are needed to verify that the coral died from oil that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, but the chief scientist who led the government-funded expedition said Friday he was convinced it was related.

“What we have at this point is the smoking gun,” said Charles Fisher, a biologist with Penn State University who led the expedition aboard the Ronald Brown, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel. “There is an abundance of circumstantial data that suggests that what happened is related to the recent oil spill,” Fisher said.

For the government, the findings were a departure from earlier statements. Until now, federal teams have painted relatively rosy pictures about the spill’s effect on the sea and its ecosystem, saying they had not found any damage on the ocean floor.

In early August, a federal report said that nearly 70 percent of the 170 million gallons of oil that gushed from the well into the sea had dissolved naturally, or was burned, skimmed, dispersed or captured, with almost nothing left to see — at least on top of the water. The report was blasted by scientists.

Most of the Gulf’s bottom is muddy, but coral colonies that pop up every once in a while are vital oases for marine life in the chilly ocean depths. Coral is essential to the Gulf because it provides a habitat for fish and other organisms such as snails and crabs, making any large-scale death of coral a problem for many species. It might need years, or even decades, to grow back.

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24 Responses to Scientists Find Damage to Coral — Essential to Marine Life — Near BP’s Oil-Spill Well

  1. $4251815 November 8, 2010 at 12:29 am #

    Coral wants you to have a gay marriage so it’s all good. This is why we need less government regulation. Obviously transnational corporations have our best interests in mind when they rape the planet and consume its natural resources. Thank you GOP (and limp dicked Democrats).

  2. Anonymous November 8, 2010 at 4:29 am #

    Coral wants you to have a gay marriage so it’s all good. This is why we need less government regulation. Obviously transnational corporations have our best interests in mind when they rape the planet and consume its natural resources. Thank you GOP (and limp dicked Democrats).

  3. Haystack November 8, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    Haven’t you been paying attention? The American people demand a small government that won’t hamper commercial enterprise with red tape just because they occasionally render major bodies of water uninhabitable to life as we know it.

    • Zaphod Mc'lintok November 8, 2010 at 2:39 am #

      Trans national corporations are operating a global corporatocracy. Your admonitions that a larger bereaucracy and government will ‘put those trans corps in line’ is delusional.

      • Haystack November 8, 2010 at 4:16 am #

        I wasn’t suggesting that the US go’vt could singlehandedly overthrow a “global corporatocracy.” The agency that was regulating deep water drilling in the Gulf, however, had a conflict of interest where they received funding for granting licenses; the regulators themselves were having wild coke parties with lobbyists from the oil industry. If there had been a healthy regulatory apparatus in place, the BP spill might not have happened. I find it ironic that when stuff like this goes down, people want to regulate corporations less, not more.

        • Simiantongue November 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

          More coke parties is always the answer. Always.

          • Andrew November 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

            That’s not an example of government regulation, it’s an example of government collusion.

          • Haystack November 8, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

            Yeah, but I never get invited.

      • Henry Baum November 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

        So what’s your alternative to regulation?

  4. Haystack November 8, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    Haven’t you been paying attention? The American people demand a small government that won’t hamper commercial enterprise with red tape just because they occasionally render major bodies of water uninhabitable to life as we know it.

  5. VoxMagi November 8, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    hey…its not like fish really needed that spot for anything…the ocean is HUGE…they’ll just get by somewhere else…and somewhere after that…and somewhere after that…until…

    …oh…wait…even the ocean doesn’t go ‘to infinity and beyond’.

    • Haystack November 8, 2010 at 4:20 am #

      Fuck yeah. If they don’t like our ecosystem, they can go somewhere else. Most of those fish don’t even speak English.

  6. VoxMagi November 8, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    hey…its not like fish really needed that spot for anything…the ocean is HUGE…they’ll just get by somewhere else…and somewhere after that…and somewhere after that…until…

    …oh…wait…even the ocean doesn’t go ‘to infinity and beyond’.

  7. Zaphod Mc'lintok November 8, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    Trans national corporations are operating a global corporatocracy. Your admonitions that a larger bereaucracy and government will ‘put those trans corps in line’ is delusional.

  8. Simiantongue November 8, 2010 at 3:00 am #

    Jaws I-V, Deep Blue Sea, Open Water, Leviathan or Deep Star Six? Multiple ships are sunk or go missing in the worlds oceans every year also. Need I go on?

    I fully support BP’s efforts to systematically wipe out the oceanic biosphere which is a terrorist threat to America. The Gulf was an enclave of such terrorist activity. There have been numerous reports of humans being wounded or killed in that area for decades, how much do they think we were going to take before we struck back? I am not anti copepod, I am pro human.

  9. Simiantongue November 8, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    Jaws I-V, Deep Blue Sea, Open Water, Leviathan or Deep Star Six? Multiple ships are sunk or go missing in the worlds oceans every year also. Need I go on?

    I fully support BP’s efforts to systematically wipe out the oceanic biosphere which is a terrorist threat to America. The Gulf was an enclave of such terrorist activity. There have been numerous reports of humans being wounded or killed in that area for decades, how much do they think we were going to take before we struck back? I am not anti copepod, I am pro human.

  10. Haystack November 8, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    I wasn’t suggesting that the US go’vt could singlehandedly overthrow a “global corporatocracy.” The agency that was regulating deep water drilling in the Gulf, however, had a conflict of interest where they received funding for granting licenses; the regulators themselves were having wild coke parties with lobbyists from the oil industry. If there had been a healthy regulatory apparatus in place, the BP spill might not have happened. I find it ironic that when stuff like this goes down, people want to regulate corporations less, not more.

  11. Haystack November 8, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    Fuck yeah. If they don’t like our ecosystem, they can go somewhere else. Most of those fish don’t even speak English.

  12. Andrew November 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Thanks for letting your campaign contributors handle the “clean up” Mr. President!

  13. Andrew November 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Thanks for letting your campaign contributors handle the “clean up” Mr. President!

  14. Henry Baum November 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    So what’s your alternative to regulation?

  15. Simiantongue November 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    More coke parties is always the answer. Always.

  16. Andrew November 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    That’s not an example of government regulation, it’s an example of government collusion.

  17. Haystack November 8, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    Yeah, but I never get invited.

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