Mote Marine Laboratory, the National Aquarium, and Johns Hopkins University are together conducting studies into the "pre- and post-Deepwater Horizon oil spill impact status of Sarasota Bay" to ensure damage is "documented as rigorously as possible," the Longboat Key News reports today.
“It’s critical to gather robust, baseline information about the current state of any aquatic ecosystem that may ultimately be impacted by this oil disaster. Sarasota Bay certainly falls in this category,” said interim executive director of the National Aquarium Conservation Center, marine biologist Erik Rifkin Ph.D..
“Our ecosystem-based approach, which includes the deployment of sophisticated petroleum contaminant samplers, will help to ensure that important long-term natural resource damages can be properly evaluated.”
“This kind of in-depth, site-specific research should probably be considered for other gulf coast areas which have been, or are likely to be, impacted by the BP spill,” continued Dr. Rifkin.
Mote Marine Laboratory scientists are documenting and testing some 50 locations throughout Sarasota Bay. Sampling began in June and will continue for months according to the article.
"Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Contaminant Transport, Fate and Remediation will use this empirical evidence to develop mathematical bioaccumulation models. These models will demonstrate how contaminants in oil move through the food web and accumulate in marine plant and animal tissues. ... These models will also provide insights into how humans could be impacted if seafood is contaminated," the article adds.