Oh! Moving, graphic and informative all at the same the same time! If you want a quick overview of all the impacts that the BP oil spill has had (and is having) on the entire marine ecosystem, from the ocean floor to the air above the surface, look no further than NRDC's new Go Below the Surface of the Gulf Oil Disaster interactive graphic. Done by Jason Bishop, it really does a great job of laying it all out right in front of you. Check it out; here are some screengrabs to give you a taste:Starting at the top (lead image), you discover that,
Only a fraction of the millions of gallons of crude oil that have flooded into the Gulf of Mexico rises to the surface. The majority of the oil remains dissolved or dispersed in the Gulf's waters.
Oil contains hazardous chemicals such as benzene and hydrogen sulfide that evaporate into the air. Winds may carry these toxic chemicals and hydrocarbons to shore, threatening the health of humans and wildlife.
Further down you find,
More than 40 species of sharks are found in the Gulf. Many are currently breeding and use the local seagrass areas as nurseries. The oil in the Gulf poses a critical threat to whale sharks because they are filter feeders who spend a considerable amount of time at the surface where their gills may get coated with oil and stop functioning.
And closer to the bottom,
The loss of only 3 of the Gulf of Mexico's population of sperm whales--of which there are less than two thousand--could endanger the species' long term survival. Sperm whales, like dolphins, surface to breathe and can ingest oil; oil can also impact the whales prey like squid.
Ultimately, NRDC wisely warns, "The amount of oil released into the Gulf since the explosion, the scale of contamination and the magnitude of the damage remain unknown. Offshore drilling will always be risky but the oil industry should have to demonstrate that it has adequate containment and clean-up capabilities."
Here's the link again: NRDC: Go Below the Surface of the Gulf Oil Disaster
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More on the BP Oil Spill:
Rush Limbaugh on the BP Oil Spill: "It's as natural as the ocean water is."
Must See Aerial Footage of BP Oil Spill Shows 'The Gulf Bleeding' (Video)
How Will the BP Oil Spill Affect Critically Endangered Bluefin Tuna?