Radical Drops In Gulf Oxygen Levels On The Gulf
In the thick of it: Former Danville resident engulfed in oil spill research
By BEN KLEPPINGER
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. — The Deepwater Horizon disaster has spawned a massive, deadening monster in the water off the Gulf Coast.
Created partially by adding nearly 2 million gallons of secretive chemical dispersants to scores of millions of gallons of leaked oil, the monster floats beneath the surface, creating oxygen-free zones that are toxic to almost all life.
The monster has forced sharks, dolphins, fish and even tiny zooplankton to flee to the shallows of the coastline as it expands; it has disrupted the food chain as oil- and methane-consuming bacteria thrive in the newly darkened waters; it has devastated industries like tourism and seafood, while simultaneously impacting seemingly unrelated areas like feed for livestock.
The monster is an anomaly the likes of which science has never seen before — and likely will never see again. Because of its unique, unheard-of nature, no one knows how light or severe the long-term effects will be.
But one former Danville resident, perched fortuitously at a forefront of biological research and observation in the gulf, will have a front-row seat to whatever the aftermath of the monster turns out to be.