Researcher: “It’s scary” — “There were no signs of recovery” for coral and surrounding animal life


PSU scientist assesses damage, Centre Daily, February 17, 2011:

When BP’s Macondo 252 well erupted last spring, it was no coincidence that a team of researchers were in the midst of studying deep water ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico, just six miles from the disaster site.

Charles Fisher, a Penn State biological oceanographer, was heading the research prior to the Deepwater Horizon spill. He said the U.S. government had realized years ago there were some unknown risks with oil industry practices. ...

One upcoming dive will involve retrieving a time lapse camera that has been snapping a photo of affected coral life at four minutes past every hour for nearly a month. Fisher said the images will allow researchers to assess how the coral and surrounding animal life is reacting to the contamination. Early analysis has returned a mix of good and bad news, he said.

“It’s scary because there were no signs of recovery, but encouraging because there is hope for recovery,” he said. “Things grow slowly, stay for a long time, and die slowly.”

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