Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (1 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   1 comment

General News

Dead Baby Dolphins and Oil Wash in on the Gulf Coast

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 2/22/11

Become a Fan
  (2 fans)
- Advertisement -

In the Gulf, the temperature is rising. The magical spring season should soon bring warm waters teeming with life back to the region's marshy bayous and sandy shores.  

But there are troubling signs all is not right with the Gulf. This week, dramatic video and stories are emerging of at least 18 dead baby dolphins found on the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi. The tragic sight of these baby mammals floating belly up not far from the high rises and condos that students and families will flock to this spring suggest a different reality from the one presented by multi-million dollar ad campaigns that all is well along the Gulf shores.  

Local fish and wildlife experts are studying the exact cause of this carnage to see if it's oil related. My NRDC colleague Josh Mogerman's blog points out that scientific research shows how sensitive dolphins are to chemicals and toxins that can contaminate mother dolphins' milk.

Dolphins at play near oil contaminated marshes of Bay Jimmy, LA, last fall.

Photo by NRDC/Rocky Kistner

But this isn't the only troubling sign that life isn't normal down in the Gulf. Oily tar balls are still washing in and residents point out the beaches are definitely not normal. Lorrie Williams of Ocean Springs, MS, has been documenting the continued contamination of her nearby beaches. 

"This was one of the first areas of Mississippi that was impacted by the BP oil last June," she says. "BP never went down the beach to cleanup where the bayou and marsh grass is. The oil is stuck in the marsh grass. Everything is dead. When the sun hits on it, you get rainbow spots."

- Advertisement -

Blood Beach, MS, taken in February, 2011                    Photos by Lorrie Williams

Meanwhile, independent scientists continue to explore the sea bottom for signs of oil. And they are finding it. A lot of it. Marine biologist Samantha Joye told BBC News that the true extent of the oil disaster is still a long ways off.  

The impact on the benthos was devastating. Filter-feeding organisms, invertebrate worms, corals, sea fans - all of those were substantially impacted - and by impacted, I mean essentially killed....Another critical point is that detrital feeders like sea cucumbers, brittle stars that wander around the bottom, I didn't see a living (sea cucumber) around on any of the wellhead dives. They're typically everywhere, and we saw none.

- Advertisement -

Here's what the Associated Press  had to say about Samantha Joye's revelations: 

In five different expeditions, the last one in December, Joye and colleagues took 250 cores of the sea floor and travelled across 2,600 square miles. Some of the locations she had been studying before the oil spill on April 20 and said there was a noticeable change. Much of the oil she found on the sea floor - and in the water column - was chemically fingerprinted, proving it comes from the BP spill. Joye is still waiting for results to show other oil samples she tested are from BP's Macondo well.

She also showed pictures of oil-choked bottom-dwelling creatures. They included dead crabs and brittle stars - starfish like critters that are normally bright orange and tightly wrapped around coral. These brittle stars were pale, loose and dead. She also saw tube worms so full of oil they suffocated.

Next Page  1  |  2

Rocky Kistner is a media associate with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Since June, 2010, he has focused on the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, working out of NRDC's Gulf Resource Center in Buras, LA. He is a been a print and broadcast (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Angels of Mercy in the Oil Damaged Gulf

At Gulf oil disaster forum, health problems on dramatic display

Fresh Oil Continues to Wash Ashore in the Bayou

Sea Turtle Deaths Mount in the Gulf

Hunting for Oil in the Muddy Waters of the Gulf Shore

Dead Baby Dolphins and Oil Wash in on the Gulf Coast


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

The BP oil disaster may be just beginning to impac... by Rocky Kistner on Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011 at 2:24:45 PM