ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "oil spill"

Culturing Science

Our Biases in the Gulf’s Recovery from the Oil Spill

oilsargassum.jpg__800x600_q85_crop_subject_location-301,296

Last month, I set out to write a fairly basic story about the Gulf oil spill and whether the oil really caused deformities in fish. I first called an oil chemist to get some background on how oil could cause those problems in the first place. From that conversation, I learned a huge amount—in particular, [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Sea Turtle Hatchlings Saved by LED Lights Funded by Deepwater Horizon Fines

leatherback hatchling

A sea turtle’s life begins in darkness. After about 60 days of incubation inside their eggs, turtle hatchlings use a temporary tooth called a caruncle to break out of their shells. That’s just step one. At this point, they are still buried in nests about 50 centimeters below the beach surface. As dozens of baby [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

25 Years after Exxon Valdez Spill, Sea Otters Recovered in Alaska’s Prince William Sound

sea otter

It took a quarter century, but the northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) living in Alaska’s Prince William Sound have finally recovered from the effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The spill itself killed an estimated 40 percent of the 6,500 sea [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Updates from the Brink: A Plan for Bats, Oil-Spill Penguins and Branson’s Lemurs

The news about endangered species doesn’t slow down. Here, we update some Extinction Countdown stories covered in recent weeks: A plan to save bats The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a national plan to combat the bat-killing white-nose syndrome (WNS) on May 17. As we have reported here many times before, the fungus that [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Half of the world’s rockhopper penguins threatened by oil spill

An oil spill off the South Atlantic island of Nightingale has put nearly half of the world’s population of endangered northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) at risk. The Maltese-registered ship MS Olivia ran aground on Nightingale Island on March 16. The New York Times reported Wednesday that more than 725 metric tons of fuel oil—half [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Deepwater doom: Extinction threat for world’s smallest sea horse

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill this year and subsequent cleanup efforts could drive the world’s smallest sea horse into extinction, warns the Zoological Society of London and its marine conservation organization Project Seahorse.  The tiny dwarf sea horse (Hippocampus zosterae), which grows to a maximum length of 2.5 centimeters, can be found only in [...]

Keep reading »
Extinction Countdown

Oil spill threatens endangered species at a critical time

The true impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico won’t be known for weeks—if not months or years—but already the spreading oil presents a danger to the region’s threatened and endangered species. One of the first species to face risk could be the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), which has just [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Oil Habit Unchanged on 2-Year Anniversary of BP’s Gulf of Mexico Spill

burning-deepwater-horizon

Two years ago, 11 men lost their lives as a backlash of gas exploded into the night from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. In the ensuing months, roughly 5 million barrels of oil and more than 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas spewed into the ocean from the Macondo [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

How Going with the Flow Helped Microbes Eat BP’s Oil Spill

Microbes kept the oil and gas spewing from the Macondo well from becoming even more of a disaster, preventing the Deepwater Horizon blowout from deeply befouling the Gulf coast. But these hydrocarbon-chompers got an assist from the Gulf of Mexico—the prevailing tides and currents helped keep hydrocarbon-eating microbes on the job, according to the results [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Hackers Use Open Hardware to Solve Environmental Problems

arduino-microcontroller

Autonomous mini-sailboat drones ply the ocean and mop up oil spills, gather information on marine life in crisis and clean up floating plastic trash. That’s the vision of Protei, a collective of technology students from around the globe who have been designing a fleet of these craft as “open” hardware—or electronic gadgets assembled from scratch [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

What Was in the Oil Spilled during BP’s Gulf of Mexico Disaster?

gulf-oil-spill-sample

Despite common parlance, oil is not a singular substance but rather a toxic stew of many different hydrocarbons that comes out of the ground mixed with natural gas. The oil that spewed from BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico last year was no different—and now a precise measurement of its chemical composition has [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Oil spill’s human health impacts might extend into the future

volunteer cleans up oil spill in the gulf, might have health risks later

Scientists are still assessing the ecological damage wrought by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. Other researchers, however, are looking at subtler signs of the disaster’s potential impacts on human health. More than 300 people had come forward with spill-related symptoms in the few months after the rig [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Dispersed oil proves less toxic in EPA tests

dispersant-fill-up

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released results of its second round of toxicity testing on dispersants—chemicals used to break up the oil that spewed for nearly 90 days into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s Macondo well. This new round focused on the specific oil in question—Louisiana sweet crude—alone and in conjunction with eight dispersants, [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

EPA dispersant tests show limited toxicity but questions remain

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released preliminary data Wednesday from its own toxicity testing for eight dispersants in a bid to corroborate potentially suspect industry-provided results. But questions remain about the safety of these chemicals that can be used to break up oil spills, including COREXIT 9500, which is being employed on a massive scale [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Does the EPA know what it’s doing when it comes to dispersants?

aerial-dispersant-application

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has struggled in the past two months to come to grips with dispersants, the chemical cocktails being used to break up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill into tiny droplets that are easier for microbes to eat. It now appears that the EPA failed to require adequate controls for [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

A vortex of fire erupts at the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Take a good look at the intense power of the oil spill.     That’s right. Setting a small patch of it ablaze was enough to create a vortex of fire—a tornado of flame that makes the ships fighting the slick look like toy boats. Nor is that the only way this spill boggles in [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Unmanned Seaglider undersea vehicles could cut through debates about underwater plumes and the quantity of oil spilled in Gulf of Mexico

At least two fundamental questions remain about the ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: how much oil has spilled and where exactly is it located? BP’s use of chemical dispersants to address the crisis has complicated the answers to these questions by likely redistributing oil from the surface to locations deeper into the [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Special Universe

Get the latest Special Collector's edition

Secrets of the Universe: Past, Present, Future

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X