Corals Won’t Survive A Shallow-Water Oil Spill Treated With Dispersants, National Wildlife Federation (Wildlife Promise), October 14, 2010:
At the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, doctoral candidate Rachel Silverstein... created four treatments:
- 1) a 2% concentration of oil in sea water, likey [sic] much higher than would normally occur at a spill site (except, perhaps, close to a spill’s “ground zero”)
- 2) seawater with 2% Corexit 9500, the dispersant used during the BP oil spill
- 3) a mixture of both dispersant and oil —2% oil in sea water, the dispersant added in a in a 1:10 ratio, per the manufacturer’s recommendation, and finally
- 4) a control treatment of just sea water with no oil or dispersant. ...
But when the corals were treated for 12 hours with mixtures including dispersant or oil plus dispersant, there was no coral to measure.“Basically, I found that with the oil alone there was no effect,” said Silverstein. “But, with the dispersant, and the oil plus dispersant in a 12-hour exposure, the tissue mostly just dissolved.” ...
In deep water, like the site of the Gulf oil disaster, where dispersant was used in massive, never before seen quantities, the potential for coral death increases as the dispersed oil drifts towards coral reefs in the Florida Keys and other warm water locations.