Bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico Consumed Over 200K Tons of Oil and Gas From BP Oil Spill

Written by on September 12, 2012 in Marine Life, Physical Oceanography

Researchers from the University of Rochester and Texas A&M University have determined that naturally-occuring bacteria in the Gulf of Mexico consumed and removed at least 200,000 tons of oil and natural gas from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Oil in the wake of a boat. Photo credit Gulf spill restoration, NOAA.

Oil in the wake of a boat. Photo credit Gulf spill restoration, NOAA.

“A significant amount of the oil and gas that was released was retained within the ocean water more than one-half mile below the sea surface. It appears that the hydrocarbon-eating bacteria did a good job of removing the majority of the material that was retained in these layers,” explained co-author John Kessler from the University of Rochester.

Their results included information on how the rate at which bacteria consumed oil and gas changed over time.  This could be extremely helpful in predicting the results of future spills.

For more information, you can read the full press release here:

You can read the results of the study published this week in Environmental Science and Technology here:

Surface oil. Photo credit Gulf Spill Restoration, NOAA.

Surface oil. Photo credit Gulf Spill Restoration, NOAA.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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