“Outbreak”: Fungus hits Alabama marshes — Something has “gone haywire”

Fungus outbreak hits Alabama marshes; could oil spill sheens be to blame?, Ben Raines for the Press-Register, December 06, 2010:

A widespread fungal outbreak is affecting one of Alabama’s key marsh grass species, potentially rendering much of this year’s seed crop sterile, according to scientists.

While the fungus is always present in coastal marshes, scientists speculated that repeated exposure to oil sheens floating on Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay this spring and summer might have played a role in the outbreak by reducing the natural resistance of the marsh plants to the disease. …

This, scientists said, could be the first sign of many subtle problems potentially related to exposure to oil.

Judy Haner, marine conservation director with the Alabama office of The Nature Conservancy:

“The marshes and barrier islands were the areas that took the brunt of the oil and sheens… This infection raises the possibility that our marsh system is more vulnerable because it has been stressed.” …
“When a system is knocked out of balance, we can see things take off like this.”

Stan Senner, director of conservation science for the Ocean Conservancy, was Alaska’s science coordinator following the Exxon Valdez:

“It is certainly reasonable that exposure to oil may have weakened these plants and made them vulnerable to this fungus or other diseases… People talk about the collapse of the herring population years after Exxon Valdez. Well, one of the agents of that collapse was a fungus that struck the fish. Exposure to oil [for fish born the year of the spill] made them more vulnerable to the fungus.”
“This story will play out over several years… Anyone who thinks we have dodged all the bullets in terms of impacts from the spill is being way too premature.”

Bill Finch, director of the Mobile Botanical Gardens:

“[It looked like something in the marshes had] gone haywire [this year].”
“There are many reasons plants get infected by disease, but I was stunned by how pervasive this seems to be this year.”

16 comments to “Outbreak”: Fungus hits Alabama marshes — Something has “gone haywire”

  • Gary

    Umm! watch that new Exxon commercial the microbe things they can do with oil
    Wait until the creatures start coming out at night. Its just getting started and you did not belive in monsters.
    Hmm! that walking dead show comes to mind

  • Bill Finch: Yep. Something in the marsh has gone haywire. It’s the result of BP thrusting it’s ‘drill’ into the Earth, deeper and deeper, faster and faster — for more-and-more oil!

    BP happened in the marshes; the breath of BP is wretched — so foul that it can call forth demons from the depths — and bring them forth to devour man.

  • if anyone is familiar with the work of paul stamets, it sounds like nature is neutralising the oil all by itself. good work i say.

  • I believe I’ve heard him interviewed on The Art Bell show some years ago; he likes to get high on mushrooms and he facillitates others in doing so as well.

    I also recall that he [Paul Stamets?] was introduced to the mushroom by natives in some jungle — and it was mixed in blood and he drank it. Not sure however if it’s the same person.

    Mushrooms are great as an addition to many dishes, but IMHO, not as a mind-altering substance. Youngsters are so gullible.

  • goatboy

    steve – the mycelium used by stamets for bio-remediation are absolutely NOT parasitic like the marsh blight referenced here

    b&b – that ridiculous nonsense is utterly irrelevant to his research

    referencing art bell is like starting a sentence with “i don’t know wtf i’m talking about, but…”

  • goatboy

    ps – didn’t mean to be rude, you probably got him mixed up with terence mckenna; that douchebag promoted the ultimate psyop, “the world is ending in 2012, so don’t bother, you know, thinking ahead or going out and doing anything productive… just go eat some drugs…”

  • goatboy:

    Do your research: Start at Wiki and work your way up.

    I listened to Stamets for 4 hours on the Art Bell broadcast years ago, and he was more interested in ‘singing-the-praises’ of the mushroom as a mind altering substance — and nothing else.

    On a more pertinent note: Nature cannot alter what is destined to die; can the marsh grass survive what the people cannot — what the whales and dolphins cannot. Nature is magnificent and bioremediation does exist, but not for the marsh grasses. They’re wrapped in corexit and hydrocarbons: surrounded by oil and dispersant, in the water, on the land, and in the soil.

    IMHO, if a particular marsh grass survives, it will be the result of DNA damage which creates the need for genetic change. In which case it has not survived — it has undergone DNA repair, and that repair will have created a new marsh grass. It will not and cannot be the same marsh grass.

  • soozla:

    Maybe it’s not so weird; IMHO the ground is saturated with oil and something must have sparked the fire by accident. Beyond that, I’d say perhaps the marsh self ignited.

    I don’t know what outdoor temperature it would need to be to accomplish that: Maybe 40-50*F? And just wait until you hear this! At the same site you referenced…


    The story tells of a businessman who owned a shrimp drying business near Houma. One day he was blow-drying the shrimp and a fire happened; his business burnt down because he was trying to dry *wet* shrimp.

    Perhaps they were full of oil.

  • I’m thinking that in the especially saturated [with oil] areas, that the places could easily self ignite. This would be extremely dangerous for people living where such a possibility exists.

  • soozla

    Well… there is the oil saturation,methane levels in the air and the flammability of the chemicals in the range of dispersants being used…also perhaps heat and open flame.

  • xdrfox

    Such as this … Group sees disaster looming over state’s refineries. Over 200,000 at Risk ! …

  • soozla:

    Good grief! Now — a paint drying business went up in flames because machines were in use to dry the paint. A little heat and a little oil…

    I hope people living in the surrounding areas can manage to relocate. That earth is too oiled to become safe anytime soon, and it will only get worse: Consider that explosives are everywhere — even under your house.

    Please be safe.

  • xdrfox:

    I read your article after soozla’s and they both agree that 200,000 people are in harms way. There are 17 oil refineries
    in New Orleans and they are responsible for that number.

    It seems that the low level of quality, methodology and imprecise accident data are created the high risk for the people. Plus, deferred maintenance and cost-cutting measures — as well as the loss of the older, more experienced workers that have moved the risk upwards.

  • William Hinson, in an attempt to defend Exon-Mobil — and acting as their spokesman, said…

    “Exon Mobil’s goal is to drive injuries, illnesses and operational incidents with environmental impact to zero. We take our compliance responsibilities seriously and routinely report emissions to the EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, as appropriate, in a consistent and timely manner and comply with all laws, regulations and permits.”

    Oh well. Liar, liar — pants on fire! EPA and Exon Mobil are dancing-a-jig and amazingly avoid tripping over the truth.

  • ghana

    When you mix oil, water and “Italiano” spices you get a tasty Italian Dressing; excellent with field greens and wild cucumber.

    When you mix oil, water and “Corexit” spices you get a Sentient Dressing; excellent with any organic matter or as a flambe!

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