TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, residents and officials from Gulf coast states were in a sheer panic over the damage that spill would do.
Four years later, the economy has largely recovered, but scientists are still deep in discovery about the long-term impact the spill had on species and plants found in the Gulf of Mexico.
Florida State University’s internationally recognized experts are available to speak to reporters about the current state of the Gulf.
Jeff Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography: (850) 644-7493; [email protected]
Chanton is an expert on the fate of the oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and is investigating whether the oil is ending up in the sediment or if it is being taken up by marine animals.
“We don’t know what the true damage was because we didn’t have a baseline knowledge of the Gulf. There’d been no significant research on the Gulf up to that point. It’s all been focused on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. If half the bottlenose dolphins were killed, we wouldn’t know. “
Felicia Coleman, director of the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory: (850)-697-4120; [email protected]
Coleman is an expert in marine ecology, fisheries science, and the ecological consequences of the oil spill for coastal habitats, organisms and fishing communities.
“In certain fish, we see chemical levels that increased after the spill for a year or two and are now going back to normal, which suggests they’re recovering. In other species, those numbers are continuing to increase, which tells us there are still places that have oil and these animals are being exposed to it. “
For more from Chanton and Coleman, read their Q&A on the Office of Research blog, Extraordinary Thoughts.