Oil spill detrimental to Gulf species

The effects of the Deepwater Horizon accident may have long-term consequences for regional animals. Researchers have discovered that the killifish, an environmental indicator species used to predict broader exposures and health risks, has been sickened by oil toxicity.

The findings are part of ongoing research on impacts in badly affected Louisiana, and may apply to other species like oysters and shrimp. Fish from the Gulf at the oiled site of Isle Grande Terre were monitored and embryos were exposed in the lab to sediment from the same site.

Developmental abnormalities have been observed, including heart defects, delayed hatching and reduced hatching success. Habitats may be compromised, although the spill occurred in patches, meaning that some killifish will be more affected than others.

Read more at UC Davis