R.I.P. Gulf Coral Reefs
Posted on Nov 6, 2010
A team of scientists “on a research cruise” (what?) have discovered severe damage to coral reefs near the location of the Deepwater Horizon’s blown-out wellhead. Coral, which is a barometer of the health of an ocean’s ecosystem, was found to be “sloughing off tissues and producing mucus.” Gross. —JCL
Los Angeles Times:
Scientists on a research cruise this week found a community of dead and dying deep-sea corals not far from the site of BP’s blown-out wellhead.
“Within minutes of our arrival … it was evident to the biologists on board that this site was unlike any others that we have seen over the course of hundreds of hours of studying the deep corals in the Gulf of Mexico over the last decade,” Penn State University biology professor Charles Fisher and the cruise’s chief scientist said in a news release.
A colony of hard coral at a depth of more than 4,000 feet was sloughing off tissue and producing mucus, while a nearby community of soft corals had extensive bare areas. A type of starfish associated with the coral was also in bad shape.
Damaged coral, with an attached starfish, was seen by scientists several miles from the site of the blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.