Methane From Oil Spill Migrating Undigested?, Science, February 19, 2011:
Some researchers have concluded in recent papers that almost all of the methane was eaten by an enormous bloom of bacteria. However, microbiologist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, Athens, argues that something else happened. ...
Joye’s hypothesis is that the microbes ran out of another nutrient, which would have prevented them from metabolizing any more methane. Another factor may explain the decline of methane southwest of the well, Joye said. In late summer her team detected methane to the northeast. “It looks like there’s a significant amount of gas in the ecosystem, but it’s smeared though the ecosystem,” she told the audience.
The fate of the oil and gas released last year is a complicated story, and this finding is unlikely to be the last word. Another expert in the interaction of microbes and hydrocarbons called Joye’s “surprising” and declined to comment until a peer-reviewed paper is published.
Read the report here.