Coral Reefs Found Dead Near BP Spill Site

Scientists surveying the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico said coral reefs near the BP spill site were almost certainly dying from exposure to toxic substances.

The dead and dying coral reefs were discovered Tuesday by “scientists aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel using a submersible robot equipped with cameras and sampling tools,” reported The New York Times.

Both BP’s scientists and government officials have insisted for months that the vast majority of the 206 million gallons of oil released by the disaster evaporated, dissolved, or was dispersed, either naturally or “as the result of operations,” into small droplets (Reuters).

But environmental organizations and Gulf Coast residents have always had their doubts.

For many, the discovery of dead coral is the first piece of evidence to directly link the BP oil spill to long-term, irreversible damage in the Gulf.

So far, the goverment is playing it cool with regard to this new damaging evidence.

“Given the toxic nature of oil and the unprecedented amount of oil spilled, it would be surprising if we did not find damage,” said Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “This is precisely why we continue to actively monitor and evaluate the impact of the spill in the gulf.”

Dr. Charles Fisher, the lead scientist on the Gulf expedition, called the discovery “a smoking gun” and said that it was highly unlikely the coral was damaged by natural oil seepage from the ocean floor.

“We have never seen anything like this at any of the deep coral sites that we’ve been to,” Dr. Fisher told the NYT. “And we’ve been to quite a lot of them.”

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Image Credit: Flickr - prillfish


Pamela W.
Pamela W.3 years ago

Elizabeth M ........ Green Star for that one !

And this report was done a couple of years ago - heaven knows how much worse it is now !
Hopefully now Salazar is "out of the picture" something will get done about it !!!!!!!!!!

Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado3 years ago

Very sad but as long as there is a demand for oil and gas,well these terrible spills will continue to happen.

Elizabeth M.
Elizabeth M.3 years ago

BP must be kept accountable for a long time to come. Everything is affected when the coral
reefs die off. I believe it will take many years to know just what damage has been done to the fish, shell fish, and to the many birds. We now know that it is very important that Shell be stopped from drilling in the Artic.
Thanks for sharing Beth.

Fiona T.
Fi T.3 years ago

Would it be possible to minimise human impact on them?

Susan Pernot
Susan Pernot5 years ago

BP, Monsanto, JP Morgan and Ken Salazar will be the death of us and our planet.

Jon Hoy
Jonjon Hoy5 years ago

BP should be accountable for all damages now and in the future leaving them no slack of freedom of what they did to nature and humans alike. Even if BP goes under a different name to survive, still hold them accountable.

Jennifer B.
Jennifer B.5 years ago

No matter how hard, let's save the coral reefs!

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman5 years ago

so sad and just uncalled for.

Peter B.
Peter B.5 years ago

If scientists say the spill was "almost certainly" the cause of the reef dying I'm prepared to accept their word. And as the oil company might say - 'Oh well, so it's a few pelicans and a coral reef - so what'?? We actually have very little idea of how far-reaching the effects are of such spills, into biodiversity, into the food chain and of course into humans having cancer.

Empress Ginger
Ginger Strivelli5 years ago

corporate greed harms us all.