The April 2010 BP Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

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These two studies investigated the effects of the April 2010 BP Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the observable effects that it has had on coral reef and salt marsh ecosystems. The study conducted by White investigated nine coral communities six months after the spill using ROVs. In an area 11 km west of the spill site, the researchers studied scleractinian, gorgonian, antipatharian corals and found many that were covered with floc, a brown flocculent material, that is linked to coral tissue damage and mortality. The study conducted by Silliman et. al. investigated the oil spill impacts on the salt marshes lining the Louisiana coast. Silliman and his team identify oil spills as one of the most damaging forms of pollution due to their unpredictable nature and associated lack of readily available tools and resources that would be needed to restrict their impact on nearby ecosystems. The team studied salt marshes located in Barataria Bay, LA which was one the regions that experienced some of the most extensive oiling from the spill. The team investigated the current status and future impacts of the spill on the marshes. Past data revealed that negative impacts on marshes could be corrected with plant re-growth and oil degradation that naturally occurs with time, and at even faster rates in warmer climates, which provides a hopeful outlook for the LA region. In addition to the direct effects of oiling, the team also analyzed the geomorphic effects that may be a
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