Corexit proves deadly to Gulf’s fragile coral reefs

Reef threatened by CorexitIn a PLOS One scientific paper published Jan. 9, scientists have proven a link between detrimental effects of both oil and dispersants such as Corexit on corals in the Gulf of Mexico.

The demonstrated effects of pollution by DWH crude oil and the dispersant Corexit® 9500 on P. astreoides and M. faveolata planulae strongly suggest that the use of dispersants to mitigate oil spills in the vicinity of coral reefs should be avoided.

It’s been over two years since the BP oil spill, and since then scientists such as Dr. Charles Fisher of Penn State, Dr. Samantha Joye of University of Georgia and Dr. Ron Tjeerdema of UC Davis have worked tirelessly to better understand the full impact of the environmental catastrophe.

Many others, such as the researchers from Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory who investigated the corals for “Toxicity of Deepwater Horizon Source Oil and the Chemical Dispersant, Corexit(R) 9500, to Coral Larvae”, have shown that:

  • Settlement and survival of P. astreoides and M. faveolata larvae (from corals) decreased with concentrations of Corexit® 9500 and other dispersants; however, the degree of response varied by species and solution;
  • Exposure to medium and high concentrations of dispersants greatly lessened larval settlement (a behavioral act when the larvae leaves the plankton, and descends to the benthos) and survival for both species;
  • Exposure to Corexit® 9500 resulted in settlement failure and complete larval mortality after exposure to 50 and 100 ppm for M. faveolata and 100 ppm for P. astreoides;
  • And subsequently, that exposure of coral larvae to oil spill-related contaminants, particularly Corexit® 9500, can adversely affect coral settlement and survival, “thereby affecting the resilience and recovery of coral reefs following exposure to oil and dispersants.”

Read complete article here: via Corexit proves deadly to Gulf’s fragile coral reefs – National Oil Spill Wildlife |

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