The Oil Spill’s Legacy

By January 6, 2011 September 17th, 2011 Ocean News

Do you remember that Oil Spill in April 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico that suffocated the Ocean environment and devastated the Gulf’s coastal community? It seems like the spill occurred a decade ago as the mainstream media have moved on from the intense coverage. Other people and organizations still keep the Spill on the front burner.

A science-led team made up of various organizations including National Geographic (Dr. Sylvia Earle), the Harte Institute at Texas A&M, and the Blue Ocean Institute (Dr. Carl Safina) among others are trying to determine the effect of the spill on various species and habitats within the northern Gulf of Mexico nine months after the spill. The team is using unmanned and manned submersibles to take images of the potential effects of the Spill.

Photo Courtesy of SEAlliance

The Spill released an estimated 185 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. BP used chemical dispersants to “make the oil disappear” from the Ocean’s surface; however, the chemical used, Corexit, was more toxic to the Ocean and humans than was the oil itself. The chemical would breakdown the oil particles into small ones (but not get rid of it) and cause the oil to sink to the bottom of the Ocean. The oil and the chemical dispersant would remain in the Ocean and likely kill and impact the health of many species.

The effects of the oil and chemical dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico will be felt for decades to come. Nine months later, this team of Ocean Leaders will determine the level of impact the Spill is causing and attempt to identify species and habitats to protect and restore.

The Ocean Investigation is constantly being updated on the Mission Blue and SEAlliance websites. Speak Up for the Blue will be following the updates and bring you the latest findings in the Gulf.

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