BP Oil Spill May Be Killing Reefs

It’ll likely be quite some time before we see the full ramifications of the BP oil spill, but it looks like we can add coral to the long list of those affected.

Scientists have discovered a large number of dead or dying coral, which has likely been caused by the oil spill.

“The coral were either dead or dying, and in some cases they were simply exposed skeletons,” researcher Timothy Shank told National Geographic.

“I’ve never seen that before. And when we tried to take samples of the coral, this black–I don’t know how to describe it–black, fluffylike substance fell off of them.”

Around 40 different groups of coral were looked at, and 90 percent of them were either dead or dying.

Because so many have been affected at the same time, this is unlikely to be a natural occurrence. The coral was also very close to where the spill originated.

“The proximity of the site to the disaster, the depth of the site, the clear evidence of recent impact, and the uniqueness of the observations all suggest that the impact we have found is linked to the exposure of this community to either oil, dispersant, extremely depleted oxygen, or some combination of these or other water-borne effects resulting from the spill,” lead scientist Charles Fisher said.