Coral, Marine-Life Devastation Near BP Oil Spill Indicates Much Worse Long-Term Damage Than Feds Had Admitted, Associated Press, November 5, 2010:
Coral is essential to the Gulf because it provides a habitat for fish and other organisms such as snails and crabs, making any large-scale death of coral a problem for many species. It might need years, or even decades, to grow back.
"It's cold on the bottom, and things don't grow as quickly," said Paul Montagna, a marine scientist at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. He was not on the expedition.
Montagna said the affected area is so large, and scientists' ability to explore it with underwater robots so limited that "we'll never be able to see everything that happened down there." ...
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said its researcher on the expedition was unavailable.