We recently learned that BP, who we all know for causing the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, has also been overlooking safety on their pipeline operation in Alaska and on their other massive gulf rig the Atlantis. The gulf response is still in full effect and though it was proven in late August that more than 79% of the oil was still floating in the Gulf, the US government opened some of the coastal waters to fishing. While workers are still toiling away cleaning coastal areas we’re finding out that nature has its own crafty ways of soaking up oil. Though fisherman have been given the go ahead to pull their catches from Gulf waters, scientists have now found that oil has officially entered the food chain.
The immediate spill response soaked up as much oil as it could off the surface of the gulf, but huge plumes of crude remained at great depths. It was recently discovered that the leftover oil was most likely killing dead coral found in the vicinity of the site of the spill. Officials in the nation’s capital are currently hard at work trying to discover what led up to the disaster while scientists are still trying to figure out how it will effect the future of the coastal waters. A group of scientists from Alabama were the ones to discover (by tracing the oil’s carbon structure) the substance in the most basic of the ocean’s food sources – the planktonic food web.
“We showed with little doubt that oil consumed by marine bacteria did reach the larger zooplankton that form the base of the food chain,” said the lead author of the report, Monty Graham, in a release about their findings. As we all learn in elementary school, big fish eat smaller fish and so on up to humans and so without a doubt these traces of oil will be making their way to our dinner tables soon — if it hasn’t been there already. The report didn’t touch on toxicity in the food web — a government report is covering the subject — but now we know that though some major news networks applauded the oil’s miraculous disappearance, it didn’t just disappear.