A month-long oil spill

Now that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is more than a month old, Dr. M. of Deep Sea News rounds up the bad news and discusses long-term consequences.

Toxins from the oil spill will likely integrate into the food chain and eventually arrive to the deep in the form of food. Flux of material from the ocean surface is also likely to transport oil and toxins to the deep ocean. Shading by the oil slick might also inhibit phytoplankton production and reduce carbon flux to the deep sea meaning less food for seafloor organisms. An overall reduction of biodiversity both in terms of species and genetic diversity is expected.

A team with the International Bird Rescue Research Center cleans an oil-soaked brown pelican. Photo by IBRCC.