The St. Pete Times covered a meeting at the University of Central Florida on how scientists across the Gulf region are trying to determine the impact of the BP disaster on the Gulf of Mexico and its marine life. All admit the jury is still out, but there have been some alarming discoveries—but still no definitive connection to the disaster on most of them.
University of South Florida have found plankton in the deep gulf that are suffering from genetic mutations, and they have also found signs of what one called a “dirty bathtub ring” in the sediment on the gulf bottom.
Red snapper began turning up over the winter showing lesions, fin rot and parasite infections. Some scientists believe show their immune systems had been compromised — possibly by oil.
Florida’s beaches appear clean now, and the tourists are returning. But there are signs that the spill still isn’t over along the gulf. Dana Wetzel of Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota said she was doing some aquatic toxicology sampling in Louisiana last week and saw oil still washing up in Barataria Bay — and not just a light sheen, either.