Oil pollution is known to cause lethal and sublethal responses on coral communities in the short-term, but its long-term effects have not been widely studied. The Bahia Las Minas oil spill, which contaminated about 40 square kilometers (about 15 square miles) near the Smithsonian’s Galeta Point Marine Laboratory in Colon and became the largest recorded near coastal habitats in Panama, served as an opportunity to understand how coral reefs in tropical ecosystems recover from acute contamination over time.
Scientists review what they — and their science colleagues from around the world — have learned from studying the spill over the past decade.
Since the 2010 BP oil spill, marine scientists have sampled more than 2,500 individual fish representing 91 species from 359 locations across the Gulf of Mexico and found evidence of oil exposure in all of them, including some of the most popular types of seafood. The highest levels were detected in yellowfin tuna, golden tilefish and red drum.
Offshore energy-producing platforms in US waters of the Gulf of Mexico are emitting twice as much methane, a greenhouse gas, than previously thought, according to a new study.