The deepsea soft-sediment ecosystem in the immediate area of the 2010’s Deepwater Horizon well head blowout and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will likely take decades to recover from the spill’s impacts, according to a scientific paper reported by the online
scientific journal PLoS One, and cited by NOAA.
The paper is the first to give comprehensive results of the spill’s effect on deepwater
communities at the base of the Gulf’s food chain, in its softbottom muddy habitats, specifically
looking at biological composition and chemicals at the same time at the same location.
The oil spill and plume covered almost 360 square miles with the most severe reduction of
biological abundance and biodiversity impacting an area about 9 square miles around the wellhead, and moderate effects seen 57 square miles around the wellhead.
The research team, which included members from University of Nevada, Reno, Texas, A&M University Corpus Christi, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and representatives from BP, is conducting the research for the Technical Working Group of the NOAA directed Natural Resource Damage Assessment.
The PLoS One paper can be found online at:http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/exit.html?http%3A%2F%2Fwww.plosone.org%2Farticle%2Finfo%253Adoi%252F10.1371%252Fjournal.pone.0070540