Q&A on Long-Term Damage to Gulf from Oil Spill

Oil spill at sunset
Gulf Spill at Sunset
TAMPA (2010-07-15) -

The first testing of the cap on BP's Gulf of Mexico drill site has apparently stopped the gusher. Even though no oil is pouring into the Gulf for the first time since April, some scientists say the effects could last for years.

Even though the stopping of the undersea gusher is cause for celebration, many researchers say the effects of all the oil already in the Gulf has likely damaged much of its ecosystem.

Ian MacDonald is a professor of oceanography at Florida State University.

"It does have a long-term effect, and these long-term effects - although subtle - do restructure the ecosystem in ways which result in overall, a less productive system," he says.

MacDonald noted we're still seeing the aftereffects from both the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and the Ixtoc blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1970s. He speaks with WUSF's Steve Newborn.

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