Posted on May 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
UC Davis scientist Andrew Whitehead collects fish at a field site in May 2010, weeks after the April Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A 2013 study he co-authored shows killifish at oil-impacted sites continue to develop health defects, three years after the spill. Photo courtesy Pat Sullivan.
Fish embryos exposed to oil show developmental abnormalities
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —Small fish living in coastal Louisiana waters were sickened by crude oil toxicity for more than a year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to researchers from Lousiana, California and South Carolina.
Oil collected from the spill in 2011 continues to show toxic effects in the lab, suggesting there’s a risk of multi-generational exposure, according to Andrew Whitehead, a University of California, Davis, scientist who co-authored the study of killifish, considered an indicator species for coastal ecosystems.
Killifish embryos exposed to sediments from oiled locations in 2010 and 2011 show developmental abnormalities, including heart defects, delayed hatching and reduced hatching success. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf of Mexico, killifish, oil pollution | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Research suggests role of bacteria has been underestimated
Some of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster coated and killed deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico, but a large quantity may have been consumed by oil-eating bacteria. Photo courtesy Lophelia II 2010, NOAA OER and BOEMR.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Nearly three years after the Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded and the busted Macondo Well spewed millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, scientists are still trying to figure out to what happened to all the oil.
Only a tiny amount was captured or burned at the surface, and vast quantity — nobody knows exactly how much — was “dispersed” with chemicals injected directly into the stream of oil streaming out of the broken pipes, but a surprisingly large percentage of the oil may have been broken down by microbes. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oil spill, oil-eating bacteria | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite image shows the widespread sheen of oil spreading across the Gulf of Mexico after the April 2010 failure of the Deepwater Horizon drilling operation.
Researchers try to trace fate of BP oil in the Gulf of Mexico
By Summit Voice
FRISCO—It’s been nearly three years since BP’s failed Deepwater Horizon drilling operation spewed millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but scientists are still looking for signs of long-term impacts and trying to understand how the oil affected Gulf ecosystems.
One of the biggest questions remaining is exactly what happened to all the oil — about 5 million barrels. Along with a tiny percentage that was physically cleaned up, most studies suggest that much of the oil was processed by bacteria, or simply broken down into constituent molecules, but none of the studies have been able to account for the entire amount. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, energy, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Florida State University, Gulf of Mexico | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Gulf of Mexico appears more resistant to acidification threats
The impacts of ocean acidification will vary from region to region. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A 2007 sea voyage through the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida and up the eastern seaboard has increased understanding of how various coastal areas may respond to increased acidity. More than anything, the detailed research helps establish some baseline data against which future changes can be measured, and showed that some areas are more susceptible to higher concentrations of carbon.
The study, measuring levels of carbon dioxide and other forms of carbon in the ocean, was conducted by scientists from 11 institutions across the U.S. and was published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography.
“Before now, we haven’t had a very clear picture of acidification status on the east coast of the U.S.,” says Zhaohui ‘Aleck’ Wang, the study’s lead author and a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “It’s important that we start to understand it, because increase in ocean acidity could deeply affect marine life along the coast and has important implications for people who rely on aquaculture and fisheries both commercially and recreationally.” (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, ocean conservation | Tagged: climate, global warming, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, ocean acidification, oceans, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Northern Gulf of Mexico beaches will get some TLC this coming summer as part of the ongoing restoration work in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
Sea turtle and bird habitat improvements planned in Florida, Mississippi and Alabama
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — More restoration projects — valued at about $9 million — to repair damage from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster are set to begin in the next months along the beaches of the Florida panhandle, Mississippi and Alabama, including habitat improvements for nesting sea turtles and seabirds.
The work is part of the second phase of early restoration projects being organized by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees. Altogether, BP will fund $1 billion in early restoration projects.
“These additional projects are important steps in recovering from the oil spill, but they, along with the other Phase I projects, are just first steps,” said Trudy D. Fisher, Chair of the NRDA Trustee Council and Mississippi’s trustee. “Use of the early restoration funding has not moved quickly enough to suit any of us. I want to stress that the NRDA trustees are working hard to see that restoration funding is used in a way that is in the best interest of our natural resources.” (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf of Mexico, Natural Resource Damage Assessment, restoration | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 10, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
An explosion and subsequent fire on BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico led to the biggest oil spill on recornd in U.S. coastal waters. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard.
Study shows that sunlight intensifies the impacts of PAHs
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — In yet another sign that BP’s spilled Deepwater Horizon may have long-lasting impacts on Gulf ecosystems, a team of researchers said last week that even low-level, short-term exposure to traces of oil remnants causes deformities and impairs the swimming ability of fish.
The research was led by scientists with the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. The school is a leader in the field of marine toxicology and used a state of the art hatchery to study the effect of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on various species of fish, including cobia and mahi mahi.
PAH’s are toxic components of oil that are released from oil into the water column. The team also studied the effects of photo-enhanced toxicity, or the impact of sunlight on the potency of the toxic compounds found in the oil from the DWH spill.
A previous study by Smith University scientists showed similar impacts to fish during embryonic stages of development.
“We found that in more sensitive species the photo-enhanced toxicity could account for up to a 20-fold higher sensitivity,” said Dr. Martin Grosell, professor and associate dean of graduate studies for the Rosenstiel School. “This is an important part of the equation because it means that traditional toxicity testing performed under laboratory conditions will tend to underestimate the toxicity that might have occurred in the natural environment under the influence of sunlight,” he added. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, Uncategorized | Tagged: Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf of Mexico, Mahi-mahi, oceans, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon | 2 Comments »
Posted on November 16, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Company accepts criminal responsibility for 2010 disaster
A NASA satellite captures an image of a swirling oil slick from BP’s failed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After spending more than $14 billion on the response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP will pay another $4.5 billion in penalties under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the biggest fine ever levied by the department.
Federal officials said they will also pursue gross negligence charges under the Clean Water Act, which could result in up to $20 billion in additional fines, ranging up to $4,300 per barrel of spilled oil.
The explosion killed 11 workers on the drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico and sent millions of gallons of crude oil spewing into the water, damaging fisheries, smearing beaches and wetlands and squelching tourism in the region for months. Followup studies have shown that oil remnants may affect Gulf ecosystems for years to come. (more…)
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: BP, Clean Water Act, Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf of Mexico, United States Department of Justice | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Twin trouble in the Atlantic
Tropical storms Isaac and Joyce are both visible in this NOAA satellite image of the southern Atlantic Ocean.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT VOICE — Two tropical weather systems are now churning across the Atlantic Basin, with Tropical Storm Isaac expected to cause problems in Haiti and potentially in Florida in a few days. And Joyce, just upgraded to tropical storm status by the National Hurricane Center, is still far out to sea, but may take aim at Bermuda next week. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, tropical storms and hurricanes, Weatherblog | Tagged: Florida, Gulf of Mexico, National Hurricane Center, Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, Tropical Storm Isaac satellite photo | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 21, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Peak of hurricane season could be active
Tropical activity is picking up in the Atlantic Basin.
Hurricane Gordon nears the Azores Sunday, Aug. 19 with 100 mph winds. MODIS satellite image courtesy NASA.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical trouble may be brewing in the central Atlantic as two areas of disturbed whether heading west have to potential to develop as named tropical systems.
The National Hurricane Center is keeping a close watch on the westernmost system which has a 90 percent chance of becoming Tropical Storm Isaac within the next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, an area of disturbed weather in the far western Gulf of Mexico also has slight potential to develop as a tropical storm, as Gordon, once a Category 2 storm, dissipates between the Azores and the coast of Portugal. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, tropical storms and hurricanes | Tagged: Atlantic hurricane season 2012, Azores, Gulf of Mexico, Lesser Antilles, National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Isaac | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
March ecosystems also helped prevent more extensive damage by blocking oil
The oil slick from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster rotates slowly in the Gulf of Mexico.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster killed off salt marsh plants up to 30 feet away from the shoreline along the Gulf Coast, resulting in a doubling erosion rates along some beaches in the area, to more than 10 feet per year of lost shoreline.
“Louisiana is already losing about a football field worth of wetlands every hour, and that was before the spill,” said Brian Silliman, a University of Florida biologist and lead author of a new study that examined the oil spill impacts.
“When grasses die from heavy oiling, their roots, that hold the marsh sediment together, also often die. By killing grasses on the marsh shoreline, the spill pushed erosion rates on the marsh edge to more than double what they were before. Because Louisiana was already experiencing significant erosive marsh loss due to the channelization of the Mississippi, this is a big example of how multiple human stressors can have additive effects,” Silliman said. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, BP Gulf oil spill, Environment, oil drilling | Tagged: coastal march ecosystems, Deepwater horizon oil, Gulf of Mexico, saltwater marshes | Leave a Comment »