Image of the Day: Wounded Coral

Certain corals in the Gulf of Mexico were devastated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s reverberating destruction.

By The Scientist Staff | July 13, 2017

Swiftia exserta (a. healthy, b. wounded) and Hypnogorgia pendula (c. healthy, d. wounded) in the Gulf of Mexico, an area affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

ETNOYER ET AL., CORAL REEFS, 35:77-90, 2016


Certain deepwater corals in the Gulf of Mexico have deteriorated since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Recently, NOAA’s RESTORE Act Science Program has awarded scientists $1.3 million to study “processes that shape population connectivity patterns in habitat-forming deepwater corals . . . including species directly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” according to a news release.

"Such data could inform decisions about which areas are the most important to protect for the regeneration of damaged corals and the ultimate restoration of the Gulf," says grant recipient and biological oceanographer Santiago Herrera of Lehigh University. 

See P.J. Etnoyer et al., “Decline in condition of gorgonian octocorals on mesophotic reefs in the northern Gulf of Mexico: before and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Coral Reefsdoi:10.1007/s00338-015-1363-2, 2016.

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