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Oil Spill

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#21 Guest_Brooklamprey_*

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:55 AM

Where were you stationed at?
How did you enjoy our Louisiana Springtime weather?

I was down there for a conference on Lepisosteid research and management. Impacts of this spill on the estuary populations of Alligator gar was the big issue. Had a chance to talk with quite a few fishermen and Local and Federal fisheries about this. Nothing much is looking good for either the fish nor the people that rely on them for an income. One thing that was said over and over from a management perspective is that no one has a clue about just how bad this is going to get. Everything that is currently being done is an emergency measure. Most of which can be likened to blindly trying just anything with no idea if it is the right thing or not. There is no recovery plan in place, there is no short or longterm monitoring plan. The whole approach so far is one of panic..

But on the other hand I enjoyed the Tropical spring and my time down there when not thinking about this :)

#22 Guest_Newt_*

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 08:23 AM

One potentially hopeful item (in the long term) is that the Gulf of Mexico has a lot of oil-eating bacteria already. Oil deposits under the continental shelf seep millions of gallons into the gulf every year through fissures in the bedrock, and that oil is broken down by the microbes. So, it is possible that these bacteria will undergo a spike with the increased food supply and help remove the oil faster than human efforts alone could. However, I don't know if these bacteria will do well in the shallow waters where oil's impact is greatest. These microbes also apparently have difficulty with larger hydrocarbons, which constitute a significant part of this spill.

Netmaker- to answer your question regarding microplankton, it is just a size classification that includes numerous species of algae, protists, and very small animals 0.05 to 1.0 mm in size. Picoplankton are smaller organisms such as bacteria and the smallest algae, while macroplankton includes larger organisms such as larval fish and crabs, jellyfish, etc. The plankton is not directly affected by benthic deposits, but these deposits may have massive indirect effects. For example, many species, such as crabs, corals, jellyfish, and many molluscs, have both planktonic and benthic stages; even if the planktonic forms survive, they cannot complete their life cycles.

I don't know the full range of oil's effects, but simple physical effects are very important. Oil can foul gills and filter-feeding organs, cover substrates, and render food indigestible.

#23 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 08:46 AM

Crude oil is a surprisingly complex blend of carbon chain ("organic", or hydrocarbon) molecules which is one reason it's so valuable to current technologies. There are volatile fractions that can be purified or cracked into benzene, kerosene or gasoline, and thicker heavier "tars" that have a tendency to sink even though they're hydrophobic.

I want to add to Newt's description of oil-consuming bacteria that many of them need and consume oxygen, O2, when they consume oil products so they'll probably create temporary "dead zones" in areas where they're active. That's another variable in the current situation that no one really understands.

#24 Guest_netmaker_*

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 11:35 AM

Thank you both for the contribution.

If its alligator gar you were looking for you should have visited Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.
Monsters....just pure monsters.... then again, that was pre-Ike so some of them may be off shore or in ther Mermentau Rifver system.

thank you all again.


#25 Guest_netmaker_*

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:22 PM

"Shrimp population said to be able to recover".

White shrimp Penaeus setiferus and brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus) spawn off shore and their young drift into the estuaries, correct?
Whites spawn at 100 foot depths, Browns spawn at 300 foot levels... approx. correct ?

Now what happens when the larvae come back into the marshes and they have limited or tainted food supply? How can state agencies say these species can recover ? Can a larval or post larval shrimp recognize it is in a no feed zone and move to other waters? Simplistic question , but its being asked.

#26 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 06:52 PM

The simple answer is that the local populations of those shrimp will be killed off. If the young come into oiled estuaries they'll be dead in short order. Recovery is possible by recolonization from adjacent populations of unaffected areas, which will hopefully exist after all of this (Texas? Mexico?).

#27 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 07:44 AM

one thing i have not even heard discussed is the seeding of oil eating bacteria. does anyone know any thing about this?

I heard this being discussed on the radio. The host was advocating the release of these bacteria into the wild. From my point of view, nothing good can come from that.

#28 Guest_netmaker_*

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 03:50 PM

I heard this being discussed on the radio. The host was advocating the release of these bacteria into the wild. From my point of view, nothing good can come from that.

Hydro carbon eaters.

Aren't humans composed of some hydro carbons?

Can we say Steven Spielberg...............

#29 Guest_netmaker_*

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:29 PM

Concerning the marsh grasses.

If this crude is kiiling them off, will their root systems survive or will the entire plant go?

How long do you think the ground will stay contaminated if the root system does die off too?

#30 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 06:48 AM

Concerning the marsh grasses.

If this crude is kiiling them off, will their root systems survive or will the entire plant go?

How long do you think the ground will stay contaminated if the root system does die off too?

Marsh grasses are pretty tough, of course. If they're directly exposed to incoming crude the above-ground part of the plant is certain to die off. But the roots may survive, kinda depending. And they better survive along the Louisiana coast because if the roots die the existing coastline will erode pretty quickly. The big problem is that it's extremely hard to clean oil off of marshes. In Alaska it was possible to mobilize oil off of rocky coasts with high pressure hoses. But you can't do that with a marsh, you'll just blast the marsh away.

#31 Guest_Amazon_*

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 08:15 AM

I live in louisiana and my life is based on fishing, marshes, beaches, and such. I am going to Orange beach today to collect slatwater creatures. And I will be able to watch the oil role in on the beach. i will also assess the damage done to small community ecosystems around the jetty. Ill keep yall updated.

#32 Guest_netmaker_*

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 09:25 AM

Timing on the spill.

Some say that recovery in the estuaries will be rapid as the saltwater fishes and such are very resilient.

Others say that the timing of the spill, Spring, hit a lot of the YOY and juveniles/adults.

Any ideas of where someone could find info on spawning times and when the pre-adults or adults ( may have) left the estuaries?

  • Atlantic croaker
  • Black Drum
  • Red Drum ( red fish)
  • Speckled trout ( weakfish)
  • Southern flounder
  • Sheepshead

#33 Guest_SeaSprite_*

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 07:49 PM

Thanks for those in the affected areas in posting here, very much appreciate reading whats going on beyond the standard news.

#34 Guest_Amazon_*

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 09:57 AM

I have heard that if large fish are exposed to it and they dont die that tehy will not be able to reproduce.

Anyways, I went, the oil is like peanut butter basicly and it can burn you. i took some back for testing. Lots of sargassum is covered in oil and any small creature that was alive in it dies. My opinion on marsh recovery is that it will take a long time. Marsh grass will die and it will not be able to grow again for a long time. because the grass dies yoy fish will not have a home and will die. It will probably take quite a few years to get back to normal. if we get a hurricane all coastal protection will be destroyed and the oil will be sprayted all over the land to. Lets hope that doesnt happen.

#35 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 10:12 PM

The main problem with the marshes is that a lot of the gulf water's primary productivity occurs there. It's not baby fishes that are lost, but nutrients which feed the gulf.

#36 Guest_bulrush_*

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 08:55 AM

Just my opinion on what I know about freshwater fish tanks, their water chemistry, and how sensitive many aquatic animals are. Also based on what I hear on the news.

In a nutshell, the fishing industry will not recover for 15-20 years down there. That means 1000s of people out of jobs, on welfare. They simply will not find jobs in this economy. (Maybe I'm pessimistic because I'm in Michigan, the arm pit of America's industry.)

The food chain will be severely affected for at least 10 years. Oil slicks will poison plankton directly, and block out sunlight causing them to die off. This effects all animals above in the food chain. To say the food chain may recover in 10-15 years is, IMO, overly optimistic.

Oil spills affect creatures at 3 levels of the ocean:
  • oil slicks form on top of the water, blocking sunlight and poisoning animals.
  • oil floats in the middle of the water column affecting mid-level animals.
  • oil settles into the sand and rocks and crevices on the ocean bottom, affecting animals that live and hide there. (I did not know oil could sink but that's what the news reported.)

Also filter feeders (clams, etc) will be ingesting oil and dying. As oil washes up onto shore this affects plant light. As hurricanes appear the sandy beaches, now lacking plant light to hold the sand in, will get further eroded. Hurricanes will also stir up more oil each time, giving another does of poison to the local flora and fauna.

Now, what about that big "dead patch" that's floating around in the gulf? Combine that with the affects of the oil, and it's killing even more animals. (Isn't that patch caused by a certain type of algae bloom that uses up all the oxygen in a local area? By local area I mean 50 mile wide patch.)

What I'd like to ask the users here is, how is the Alaskan area of the Exxon Valdez oil spill recovering? Has it reached pre-spill conditions as far as abundance and health of ocean wildlife?

Edited by bulrush, 17 June 2010 - 08:57 AM.

#37 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 01:22 PM

What you said is mostly correct; and the consumption of some of the petroleum chemical fractions by bacteria will also hugely expand deadzones, because that consumption preferentially uses O2 as a reactant. As to Prince William Sound in Alaska, the short answer is that it hasn't recovered from the Exxon Valdez spill. Mammal populations are down, fish populations are down, and bird populations are down. In many areas of that coast you could still walk the beaches, turn over rocks and find oil. It looks good superficially, but it will take a while for the food web to recover from the thorough poisoning it took. The Gulf has the advantage of warmer temperatures to break down petroleum fractions faster, but its food web is pretty much smashed for the forseeable future.

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