Thursday, January 20, 2011

Even Small Amounts of Oil and Dispersant Are Toxic to Phytoplankton...the Basis of the Entire Gulf Food Chain

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Naomi Klein said at her December 8th TED talk:

    What [scientists] found is that water with even trace amounts of oil and dispersants can be highly toxic to phytoplankton—which is a serious problem because so much life depends on it. So contrary to those reports we heard back in August about how 75 per cent of the oil has sort of disappeared, this disaster is still unfolding, still working its way up the food chain.

She's right.

As The Ecologist noted last September:

    This process of dispersing oil neither eliminates nor decreases its toxicity. In fact it creates a much more toxic cocktail of oil and chemical dispersant. Experts say this cocktail mix is now beginning a slow but sure degradation of the ecosystem from the bottom up. Despite this environmental officials in the US have allowed them to be used on an unprecedented scale.

    Tiny droplets of combined oil and dispersant adhere to plankton, says Dr Susan Shaw, founder and director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI). The plankton-eaters then indiscriminately gobble up the tainted particles while fish-eaters consume the poisoned plankton eaters, and so on through the marine food web.

The Tampa Tribune wrote in September:

    Most of the oil and dispersant are still below the surface and have the potential to cause long-term damage the eco-system, according to University of South Florida researcher John Paul who is included in a documentary debuting Tuesday night in the National Geographic Channel.

    ***

    They discovered plumes of dispersed oil at the bottom of an undersea canyon about 40 miles off the Florida Panhandle.

    It was found to be toxic to microscopic sea organisms, causing mutations to their DNA.

    If this plankton at the base of the marine food chain is contaminated, it could affect the whole ecosystem of the Gulf.

    ***

    "The problem with mutant DNA is that it can be passed on and we don't how this will affect fish or other marine life," he says, adding that the effects could last for decades.

SEE MORE HERE:
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/01/even-small-amounts-of-oil-or-dispersant.html

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