Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, results of frequent dives in December from researchers at the University of Georgia have some disturbing news. Only 10% of the oil residue left on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico has been dissolved by microbes. It was expected that more of it would be gone by now. In the meantime, animals that ordinarily would be thriving are dead or dying. See an excerpt below.
Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead
By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Sat Feb 19, 8:53 pm ET
WASHINGTON – Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.
That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012.
At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't.
"There's some sort of a bottleneck we have yet to identify for why this stuff doesn't seem to be degrading," Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. Her research and those of her colleagues contrasts with other studies that show a more optimistic outlook about the health of the gulf, saying microbes did great work munching the oil.
"Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know," Joye said, later adding: "there's a lot of it out there."
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Image courtesy of National Geographic.