Scientists: Oil is "poisoning plankton" -- "Ultimate ecological response could be catastrophic"


Will oil bring death to Gulf's rich web of life?, Sarasota Herald Tribune, November 7, 2010:

For birds, fish, sea turtles, marine mammals and ocean-based economies on the Gulf coast... the long-term effects have yet to unfold.

Everything, from shrimp fleets in Louisiana to chicken wings in Buffalo, hinges on the health of tiny plants and animals at risk from oil lingering in the environment. Undetectable by sight or smell, trace amounts of degraded oil are poisoning these species, called plankton, at the bottom of the food chain, scientists say. ...

"When you are perturbing the food web from its foundation, the ultimate ecological response could be catastrophic," said David Hollander, a chemical oceanographer with the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science.

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