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Study: Oil and dispersant from Deepwater Horizon were toxic to Florida reefs

From the Tampa Bay Times Craig Pittman: 

Oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster would have killed coral reefs in the Florida Keys if the plume had reached that far south, especially when mixed with the dispersant Corexit 9500, according to new study published Wednesday.

"Dispersant and oil combined is worse than the oil alone," said Kim Ritchie, a senior scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota who is one of the authors of the paper.

The oil and dispersant from Deepwater Horizon likely damaged or killed coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, Ritchie said, but no one has reported any studies on that aspect of the disaster. At one point about a month after the spill began, the plume of oil floated over the western edge of a roughly 61-mile expanse of 300-to-500-foot-deep reef south of Louisiana known as the Pinnacles.

Coral reefs provide shelter, breeding grounds, and nursery habitat for a variety of fish and other creatures. They are made up of corals, living organisms that work with other corals to create underwater ridges. More here. 

 

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