Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Animals Fight to Survive the Oil Spill

Outrage over the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the subsequent Gulf of Mexico oil spill seemed to reach its apex when photos of animals coated in oil made the nation's newspapers. For those who weren't directly impacted by the spreading plumes, seeing the heart-wrenching images of oil-coated fish and birds, and hearing the news of vast underwater plumes that were almost certainly affecting sea life, drove the catastrophe home. This oil spill was deadly.

Even animals that weren't immediately killed by the oil could be harmed, as scientists are just beginning to understand the long-term impact the oil will have the ocean's ecosystem. In particular, there is the possibility of oil making its way up the food chain — as bacteria feasts on the oil, is then feasted on by plankton, eventually finding its way into larger fish. Long after the well was finally plugged, the impact of Deepwater Horizon persists.