Contact: Barbara Kennedy
Caption: Compelling evidence of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on deep-sea corals will be published online in the Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week beginning March 26, 2012. The researchers, led by Penn State University Biologist Charles Fisher, used a wide range of underwater vehicles, including the research submarine Alvin, as well as comprehensive chemical-analysis techniques to determine precisely the source of the petroleum hydrocarbons they found on the corals. One of the impacted corals with attached brittle starfish. Although the orange tips on some branches of the coral is the color of living tissue, it is unlikely that any living tissue remains on this animal.
Credit: Lophelia II 2010, NOAA OER and BOEMRE
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Related news release: New research reveals deep-ocean impact of the Deepwater Horizon explosion