USGS Undertakes Additional Studies of Reef Damage in Gulf of Mexico to Assess Cause
A team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and academic scientists are analyzing samples of coral and surrounding sediments from an area damaged near the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico. These samples, collected in December, are being used to investigate how and why the corals on these reefs died.
The cruise revisited MC 338, the site where dead and dying coral were found covered by an unknown brown substance in November 2010. USGS ecologist Amanda Demopoulos, Ph.D., collected samples of animals living on the seafloor as part of an expedition led by Penn State University professor Charles Fisher, Ph.D., to study how deep-sea reefs in the Gulf of Mexico have been affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In a series of dives in the manned submersible Alvin, USGS ecologists collected tissue samples from corals known as Madrepora and gorgonians at the damaged reefs found during the November expedition....