Researchers used naturally occurring radioisotopes to quantify the footprint of sedimented marine oil snow on the Gulf of Mexico seafloor following the Deepwater Horizon incident.
Scientists analyzed the carbon composition in Seaside Sparrow tissues to learn if oil from the 2010 spill was incorporated into the terrestrial food web. The researchers found reduced radiocarbon and stable carbon concentration levels in the feathers of birds captured at oiled sites compared with birds from non-oiled sites, which is consistent with a fossil oil source.
Oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill acted as a catalyst for plankton and other surface materials to clump together and fall to the sea floor in a massive sedimentation event that researchers are calling a “dirty blizzard.”
Scientists studying the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the food web published their recent findings.