USF researchers surveyed areas in shallow waters just off beaches in the Panhandle and Alabama.
USF.edu News Manager
TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2010) – A team of University of South Florida researchers studying the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on northern Gulf beaches say areas just offshore from some of Florida’s most heavily oiled beaches appear to be free of visible oil contamination in the sediments.
The update from the USF Coastal Research Laboratory, led by Geologist Ping Wang, are significant because they allay one of the chief concerns among coastal researchers: that oil which might have sunk just out of sight offshore could be easily stirred up by a storm and be washed onto beaches.
Wang, working with the chair of USF’s Department of Integrative Biology Susan Bell and a team of researchers, surveyed areas Sept. 23-27 just off the coast from Santa Rosa Island in Florida west to Gulf Shores, Ala. The five-day expedition is part of ongoing research projects funded by the National Science Foundation in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill, the nation’s largest environmental disaster.The team found no visually identifiable oil contamination, including no tar balls, tar patties or oil sheets, they said in a new report. Sediment cores gathered by divers also were free of visual evidence of oil. Further laboratory tests are being conducted to look for further hydrocarbon contamination, which often can be invisible and is detected only through sophisticated laboratory tests.READ MORE AND SEE THE SLIDESHOW AT THE LINK: