image: Fisheries & Oceans Canada
Ten months on since the Gulf Oil Spill started and we get a new assessment of how bad things were and are in the deep parts of the gulf. BBC News has summarized the work of University of Georgia's Professor Samantha Joye who recently told the AAAS that they full effects of the Gulf spill may not be fully felt for another decade. Prof Joye said that oil and dead animals coated the seafloor to a depth of 4" in places. Joye went on to say:
The impact on the benthos was devastating. Filter-feeding organisms, invertebrate worms, corals, sea fans, all of those were substantially impacted. And by impact, I mean essentially killed.
Another critical point is that detrital feeders like sea cucumbers, brittle stars that wander around the bottom, I didn't see a living sea cucumber around on any of the wellhead dives. They're typically everywhere and we saw none.
Which sounds bad, and is, but Professor Joye also noted that she thinks the Gulf will eventually recover from the effects of the oil spill, but it won't be this year.
More on Professor Joye's work: Joye Research Group and her Gulf Oil Blog
More on the Gulf Oil Spill:
Gulf Oil Plumes More Toxic to Microorganisms Than Thought
770,000 Gallons of Dispersant from BP Spill Didn't Degrade