OLDSCHOOL: Feds funding research which uses chemical tests from 1880s to detect BP dead zones

Gulf Oil Spill and Seafood Safety Government Panel, House Committee Energy & Commerce, Energy and Environment, August 19, 2010:

Edward Markey, (D-MA) Subcommittee Chairman.

News Release : WHOI Scientists Map and Confirm Origin of Large, Underwater Hydrocarbon Plume in Gulf, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, August 19, 2010:

The study… was enabled by three NSF RAPID grants to WHOI scientists with additional funding from the U.S. Coast Guard. …

Contrary to previous predictions by other scientists, they found no “dead zones,” regions of significant oxygen depletion within the plume where almost no fish or other marine animals could survive. They attributed the discrepancy to a problem with the more modern measuring devices that can give artificially low oxygen readings when coated by oil. The team on Endeavor used an established chemical test developed in the 1880s to check the concentration of dissolved oxygen in water samples, called a Winkler titration. Of the dozens of samples analyzed for oxygen only a few from the plume layer were below expected levels, and even these samples were only slightly depleted.

Monty Graham is one of those scientists referred to by Woods Hole who are making “predictions”  about dead zones. He is a biological oceanographer specializing in plankton at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on the coast of Alabama.

“The oil trapped in the water column is also suffocating the ocean, causing radical drops in oxygen levels never before seen, Graham said,” reported the July 31 Danville Advocate.

Graham’s measurements of oxygen levels in the waters where he studies plankton dropped to two to three times lower than normal, to a level so low most animals cannot tolerate it,” the article continues

This “is why all kinds of sea animals have been showing up in greater and greater numbers, closer and closer to shorethey can’t breathe in their normal habitats anymore.”

“It really changed our whole ecosystem in a number of ways,” Graham concludes.


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