via Clean Technica – Steve Hanley – Researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi have studied the microbes found on several shipwrecks in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing an estimated 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf. Their research, published June 28 in the journal Scientific Reports, claims the oil residue has caused fundamental changes in those microbes, which play an important role in carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans and are essential building blocks in the food chain for marine life.
“At the sites closest to the spill, biodiversity was flattened,” Leila Hamdan, a microbial ecologist at the University of Southern Mississippi and lead author of the study, tells The Guardian. “There were fewer types of microbes. This is a cold, dark environment and anything you put down there will be longer lasting than oil on a beach in Florida. It’s premature to imagine that all the effects of the spill are over and remediated.”