Something appears to be amiss at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico's food chain.
Oil buried in sediments in the shallow waters of the Gulf is triggering genetic reactions in the gills and livers of local populations of killifish, a ubiquitous prey for marine species vital to the region's economy, according to a study published this week in the review Environmental Science & Technology. Researchers linked those genetic changes to cardiovascular problems, reproductive failures, and weakened and listless offspring.
"The animals are simply not hatching," said Fernando Galvez, an environmental toxicologist from Louisiana State University, who led the study. "The ones that go on to hatch are smaller and have very little vigor."
An otherwise hardy and ubiquitous fish adapted to the shifting conditions of the Gulf of Mexico, the killifish may be signaling a crucial weakness in the maritime food chain three years after the nation's worst offshore oil spill poured more than 200 million gallons of crude into the waters off Louisiana, researchers said. "It's a canary in a coal mine. These guys don't move around much," Galvez said.
TVNL Comment: Despite its crimes, BP made a record pre-tax profit in the first quarter of double its $9bn for the same period in 2012. The company spends millions on TV ads every day to promote a faux safety record and its contribution to American life. Wake up America.