Scientists to see if oil spill hurt deep sea life

October 29, 2010
This Sept. 2010 photo provided by Discovre Team 2010 shows deep sea corals on the bottom of the northern Gulf of Mexico, not far from where BP's underwater oil well blew out on April 20. Scientists are studying whether the crude damaged the corals or will lead to long-term impacts. (AP Photo/Discovre Team 2010)

(AP) -- A team of scientists are leaving on a research cruise to see if the BP oil spill hurt deep-sea coral and organisms that live around natural oil and gas seeps in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's counterintuitive, but scientists say an oil spill could hurt organisms such as tube worms and that eat oil, gas and gushing from natural oil and gas seeps. That's because these organisms can die if oil settles on them from above.

The biologists and geoscientists aboard the Gyre research vessel will tow a cage with a high-resolution digital still camera and take photographs of the depths. The vessel is expected to leave Friday from Texas.

The study is being led by geophysicist Bill Shedd of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Explore further: Greenpeace to launch expedition to probe BP oil spill impact


Related Stories

Recommended for you

Arctic wintertime sea ice extent is among lowest on record

March 23, 2018

Sea ice in the Arctic grew to its annual maximum extent last week, and joined 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents on record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center ...

Germany was covered by glaciers 450,000 years ago

March 23, 2018

The timing of the Middle Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles and the feedback mechanisms between climatic shifts and earth-surface processes are still poorly understood. This is largely due to the fact that chronological ...

Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral

March 22, 2018

A return to firewood is bad for forests and the climate. So reports William Schlesinger, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in an Insights article published today in the journal Science.

The tradeoffs inherent in earthquake early warning systems

March 22, 2018

A team of researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Institute of Technology has found that modern earthquake early warning (EEW) systems require those interpreting their messages to take into consideration ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Dec 28, 2010
IF?? Don't you mean "to what extent"?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.