Experts fear long oil effect on marine life, food chain

Jul 18, 2010 by Michael Mathes
A boat with the Vessel of Opportunity (L) stands by while oil and gas is flared off during a controlled burn which supports in the cleanup of surface oil from the BP spill July 17, in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists studying the massive BP oil spill fear a decades-long, "cascading" effect on marine life that could lead to a shift in the overall biological network in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scientists studying the massive BP oil spill fear a decades-long, "cascading" effect on marine life that could lead to a shift in the overall biological network in the Gulf of Mexico.

With some 400 species estimated to be at risk -- from the tiniest oil-eating bacteria to shrimp and crabs, endangered sea turtles, brown and -- experts say the impact of and chemical dispersants on the has already begun, and could grow exponentially.

"A major environmental experiment is underway," Ron Kendall, director of the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, told AFP.

"We are already impacting the base of the food chain," he said, including plankton, which provide crucial food for fish, and juvenile shrimp in intertidal marshes along the Gulf Coast.

Kendall, whose institute is studying tissue samples from live and dead Gulf fish to analyze the spill's impact, helped study effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster on wildlife in Alaska's Prince William Sound.

With the Exxon Valdez, a finite amount of oil poured into the sea -- about one 17th of the low estimate of the oil that has gushed from a ruptured well into the Gulf -- and rose to the surface to coat the shoreline.

"This is so much more complex, what we're dealing with now," he said, noting that the 1.84 million gallons (7.0 million liters) of chemical dispersants used to fight the spill has kept some of the oil from fouling shores, but created potentially drastic problems by breaking up the oil has into droplets that may never be recovered.

Dispersants, says Kendall, release and allow small to be consumed by , potentially threatening the food supply for humans.

No contaminated Gulf fish or seafood has reached the market, according to experts, but authorities have closed some 35 percent of all fishing waters, threatening the livelihoods of thousands and putting the region's multibillion-dollar seafood industry in peril.

Researchers have reportedly observed major die-offs of organisms such as pyrosomes, cucumber-shaped creatures that are favorite meals of endangered , which have been dying by the hundreds.

Kendall acknowledged that species shifts are possible but added that "we're at the early stages of documenting the scientific effects of what's occurring."

BP and the US government say they have found more than 2,600 dead birds, mammals and turtles, but Doug Inkley, a senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, warns that could be the tip of the iceberg.

Many dead fish and sharks sink, so their numbers may never be known.

Inkley pointed to ongoing studies which show oil is expected to have a large effect on plankton -- and the animals that eat them.

"This could be an effect that will ripple all the way up the food chain," he said.

He fears a delayed disaster, similar to when Prince William Sound's Pacific herring population collapsed four years after the Exxon Valdez spill, likely because few of the herring that spawned in 1989 reached maturity.

Dozens of marine and bird species were beginning their breeding season in April when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, setting off the huge spill.

"You could have a (population) crash later because of the failure of many of the young to survive this year," said Inkley. "The impacts on wildlife I expect will last for years, if not decades."

Congressman Ed Markey, chairman of a House subcommittee on energy and the environment, echoed the concerns in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration.

He said evidence showed "the marine food chain in the has already been contaminated," and pointed to researchers who recently uncovered oil droplets found inside crab larvae harvested from the Gulf.

"This finding is particularly disconcerting because these larvae are a source of food for numerous aquatic species and this is therefore the first sign that hydrocarbons have entered into the food web."

Complicating the scenario, the Gulf will soon host millions of fowl on autumn and winter migrations.

"We'll have a whole new wave of ducks and waterbirds that will be coming here and getting affected," Kendall said. "Who knows what impact that will bring?"

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Shootist
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2010
Experts fear long oil effect on marine life, food chain

Experts fear; so we will give them mo' money.
ralbol
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2010

Experts fear; so we will give them mo' money.

And we all know money should be used exclusively to finance Big Petroleum, Big Banks, Big Car Manufacturer and Big Religion.

Science is a complete waste of money.

By the way, I've heard from my Preacher, that drinking a glass of Gulf water a day is a sure cure for cancer...
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2010
Science is a complete waste of money.

By the way, I've heard from my Preacher
I'm not sure to see this as humor or to be deeply saddened.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2010
Oil has been leaking into the oceans for millions of years. Apparently some life forms have been able to adapt.
"Another team discovered in the Gulf of Mexico at about 1000 meters down in the ocean a tube worm type Lamellibrachia, they feed on crude oil"
http://www.scubad...Sea.html
ralbol
5 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2010
"a tube worm type Lamellibrachia, they feed on crude oil"

And I'm sure you'll thoroughly enjoy that plate of tube worm Sushi or that breaded tube worm filet... cuz the way we're going, that's pretty much all the seafood that'll be left to eat.

And why not, I'm sure we can modify ourselves genetically to feed on crude oil.

Ah! Those nice pink glasses... and the sand looks sooo nice, seen from below.
ralbol
5 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2010
@ Skeptic_Heretic

It was humor.

And you should also be deeply saddned.

There are actually people who think like that...
Shootist
1 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2010

Experts fear; so we will give them mo' money.

And we all know money should be used exclusively to finance Big Petroleum, Big Banks, Big Car Manufacturer and Big Religion.

Science is a complete waste of money.

By the way, I've heard from my Preacher, that drinking a glass of Gulf water a day is a sure cure for cancer...


No, 'we' don't know that. Money should be used to finance me.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2010
"a tube worm type Lamellibrachia, they feed on crude oil"

And I'm sure you'll thoroughly enjoy that plate of tube worm Sushi or that breaded tube worm filet... cuz the way we're going, that's pretty much all the seafood that'll be left to eat.

And why not, I'm sure we can modify ourselves genetically to feed on crude oil.

Ah! Those nice pink glasses... and the sand looks sooo nice, seen from below.

Adapt or die. That is the law of nature.
"Gagh is best served live."
deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2010
Are these fears hand wringing, wishful thinking or are they based on evidence from the massive Ixtoc blowout 30 odd yrs ago in the western (Mexican) gulf. That oil reached Texas shores. What happened to that oil spill? How many species were effected? How many recovered? How many didn't? how long did each take to recover? or not? How long did it take for the oil to be consumed by petroleum eating organisms. Were dispersants used then? What was their fate? How long did it take for the local economies to recover? Etc, Etc, Etc.

Lets have some facts!!!!
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 19, 2010
Adapt or die. That is the law of nature.
"Gagh is best served live."

Adaptation takes form in many more ways than biological evolution. Start adapting Marjon, it will require sacrifice of some of your guiding principles and you are not alone in this. The sooner you realize that lifeforms are biologically interconnected to each other the easier this will be for you.

"We're connected to each other, biologically. To the Earth, chemically. To the Universe, atomically." Neil DeGrasse Tyson
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2010
lifeforms are biologically interconnected

They act in their self interest by eating each other.
Every 'interconnection' is usually of benefit to both, just like free market economics.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 19, 2010
They act in their self interest by eating each other.
Every 'interconnection' is usually of benefit to both, just like free market economics.
I wouldn't say being eaten is in my self-interest.

The free market parallel holds, although you don't actually understand it.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2010
They act in their self interest by eating each other.
Every 'interconnection' is usually of benefit to both, just like free market economics.
I wouldn't say being eaten is in my self-interest.

The free market parallel holds, although you don't actually understand it.

Enlighten me. Not all interactions in nature are predatory, some are symbiotic and others are parasitic, like governemnt.
ralbol
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2010
@ marjon

Pfffff!

Now let's see...

Last time I looked, Free Market had eaten and sucked all It could in America and Europe, leaving an empty, bloodless, terminally endebted corpse, artificially maintained alive by massive cash injections from people's money, generously pumped by governments.

As the good parasite it is, Free Market has now moved to Asia, to continue feeding on, and bleeding to death an new fat host, China.

When done, if the planet survives, Free Market will move on to bleed Africa.

Way to go "symbiotic" Free Market!

And you don't seem to lack worshippers...
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 19, 2010
Enlighten me. Not all interactions in nature are predatory, some are symbiotic and others are parasitic, like governemnt.
In nature, survival of the fittest holds as there are but 3 rules of survival (consume, survive, adapt). These same 3 rules dominate in a "free" market.

The result of these 3 rules in nature brings about niches that the most fit organism will occupy until a greater force or more fit organism displaces the prior holder of said niche.

In nature, niches are governed by forces that are beyond the control of the organisms. In a free market, the environment is created and controlled by the organisms (corporations). Fitness to the environment is no longer necessary once a company becomes sufficiently embedded into a niche as to prevent all other potential rivals from becomming more fit, in effect, no greater force available. Change in the free market stagnates at that point and the market crashes.

And you say you don't believe in evolution. Ha.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2010
In a free market, the environment is created and controlled by the organisms (corporations).

No, they are controlled by the participants.
Fitness to the environment is no longer necessary once a company becomes sufficiently embedded into a niche as to prevent all other potential rivals from becomming more fit,

The only way rivals can be prevented is 1) with a better product or 2)protection by a coercive force(govt), but then it is no longer a FREE market.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 19, 2010
The only way rivals can be prevented is 1) with a better product or 2)protection by a coercive force(govt), but then it is no longer a FREE market.
Might as well start bartering in that case.

What do you have of value to trade for the food I raise?
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2010
The only way rivals can be prevented is 1) with a better product or 2)protection by a coercive force(govt), but then it is no longer a FREE market.
Might as well start bartering in that case.

What do you have of value to trade for the food I raise?

Why? What's wrong with free market money? People used to use gold and silver. Today, anything could be used for money as long as people will accept it. The only reason people will accept it is if they believe it will maintain value. That is the challenge the government faces as it inflates the money supply.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 20, 2010
Why? What's wrong with free market money?
Free market, by definition, has no currency. Good job researching your pet ideology.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2010
Why? What's wrong with free market money?
Free market, by definition, has no currency. Good job researching your pet ideology.

Who says?
There are all sorts of concepts for free market money and they have been used many times before the creation of the state.
A gold mine could create its own gold coins and trade them for the goods and service they need. Sure, that is a form of barter, but the coins, or diamonds or any other easily stored and transported commodity will do. Even script will work if people will trust it has value.
CA created its own money with IOUs many times as it teeters on bankruptcy.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 20, 2010
There are all sorts of concepts for free market money and they have been used many times before the creation of the state.
Governments created currency, the only thing that existed before currency was barter.
A gold mine could create its own gold coins and trade them for the goods and service they need.
The idea of "coined currency" came from the practice of mining coins. The "coin" was a standard of measure for a mine. This practice continues today except the "coin" has been renamed a "round" to prevent those ignorant of the history of said items, like yourself, from becomming confused. It appears they failed in that project.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2010
"Contrary to government-created myth, money is not the creation of the State. Historically, money evolved in society out of the interactions of a multitude of buyers and sellers searching for ways to overcome the difficulties of barter. Commodities such as gold and silver were found by individuals to possess the qualities and attributes most useful in providing a sound and stable medium of exchange. "
http://www.fff.or...290b.asp
"Consumers would choose between U.S. dollars, euros, Citi dollars,
GE dollars, etc. This choice would be based on confidence in the issuer and how well the product serves the consumer’s needs. Companies
would issue money solely as a means to profit. Produce too much money and it becomes worthless, too little and not enough people will be able to use your money for you to profit."http://www.google...HIFrU6E2
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 20, 2010
"Contrary to government-created myth, money is not the creation of the State. Historically, money evolved in society out of the interactions of a multitude of buyers and sellers searching for ways to overcome the difficulties of barter.
So you've proved that you know another person who is completely ignorant of currency.

The first currency consisted of sea shells. The first coin currency was minted by the Greeks in 680BC. Your article only refers to money in the US.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 20, 2010
The first currency consisted of sea shells.

What government issued those?
Javinator
not rated yet Jul 20, 2010
Oil has been leaking into the oceans for millions of years.


Not so much in such a localized area.

Doesn't apply at all.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 20, 2010
The first currency consisted of sea shells.

What government issued those?

Whatever the Sumerian government called itself.
Shootist
1 / 5 (3) Jul 24, 2010
Why? What's wrong with free market money?
Free market, by definition, has no currency. Good job researching your pet ideology.


BS, boy. All markets but (purely theoretical) command economies have currency.
tylerdiaz
not rated yet Jul 28, 2010
Yeah!! this oil spill is gonna have a long term adverse impact on the marine life and on humans as well. I feel sad for the wild life that is gonna die as a result of this oil spill.
http://www.wellne...ews.html
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 28, 2010
BS, boy. All markets but (purely theoretical) command economies have currency
Which means you're completely unstudied in what a free market is as well. Look up Misian or Rothbardian economics. "A market free from government influence in regulation, coersion or currency.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2010
Rothbard: "Government, in every society, is the only lawful system of coercion. Taxation is a coerced exchange, and the heavier the burden of taxation on production, the more likely it is that economic growth will falter and decline. Other forms of government coercion (e.g., price controls or restrictions that prevent new competitors from entering a market) hamper and cripple market exchanges, while others (prohibitions on deceptive practices, enforcement of contracts) can facilitate voluntary exchanges."
Currency is not money. Currency is the unit of account. A piece of paper printed by the state is used as money, but its value, its 'currency' is controlled by the state. Market forces in the end will control the value as we see the price of gold rise. In the end, state control is inefficient and its only purpose is for the state to have more power.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Jul 28, 2010
1 3 line quote found on wikipedia out of a body of work that includes 14 books, 27 authoritative essays, and more than 20,000 pages of written material.

Rothbard believed the monopoly power of government over the issuance and distribution of money was inherently destructive and unethical. The belief derived from Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek's Austrian theory of the business cycle, which holds that undue credit expansion inevitably leads to a gross misallocation of capital resources, triggering unsustainable credit bubbles and, eventually, economic depressions. He therefore strongly opposed central banking and fractional reserve banking under a fiat money system, labeling it as "legalized counterfeiting" or a form of institutionalized embezzlement and therefore inherently fraudulent. He characterized the government-enforced prohibition on citizens using commodity currencies as legal tender a compulsory Ponzi scheme
Source:The Mystery of Banking, Murray Rothbard
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2010
He characterized the government-enforced prohibition on citizens using commodity currencies as legal tender a compulsory Ponzi scheme

What is wrong with that? It supports the concept of free market money. Initially the only function governments had with such money was to certify the weight and content of the gold or silver. Governments are no longer required for such certification. Of course governments discovered if they can control the money, they have license to steal and spend it on acquiring more power.