New focus for BP restoration? Spill killed 500-yr-old corals

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill by BP, which spewed more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over three months, is one of the worst environmental disasters in American history.

Now new research indicates that the spill damaged a far wider swath of the Gulf than was thought, and at greater depths, affecting fish, crabs, and 500-year-old coral.

“This study very clearly shows that multiple coral communities, up to 22 kilometers from the spill site and at depths over 1,800 meters, were impacted by the spill,” said Charles Fisher, a Pennsylvania State University biology professor whose November 2011 research was published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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