August 17th, 2010
11:59 AM ET

Scientists: Toxic organisms, oil found on Gulf floor

John Paul says, at first, he couldn't believe his own scientific data showing toxic microscopic marine organisms in the Gulf of Mexico. He repeated the field test. A colleague did his own test. All the results came back the same: toxic.

It was the first time Paul and other University of South Florida scientists had made such a finding since they started investigating the environmental damage from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The preliminary results, the scientists believe, show that oil that has settled on the floor is contaminating small sea organisms.

Paul is a marine microbiologist with the University of South Florida. He and 13 other researchers were in the middle of a 10-day research mission that began August 6 in the Gulf of Mexico when they made the toxic discovery.

The researchers battled 12-foot waves and storms but returned to St. Petersburg, Florida Monday night.

We were there as the team pulled its research materials into the lab and got the first report back of their initial findings.

The researchers found micro-droplets of oil scattered across the ocean floor and they also found those droplets moving up through a part of the Gulf called the DeSoto Canyon, a channel which funnels water and nutrients into the popular commercial and recreational waters along the Florida Gulf Coast.
The scientists say even though it's getting harder to see the oil the Gulf is still not safe.

"This whole concept of submerged oil and the application of dispersants in the subsurface and what are the impacts that it could have, have changed the paradigm of what an oil spill is from a 2-dimensional surface disaster to a 3-dimensional catastrophe," said David Hollander, a chemical oceanographer and one of the lead scientists on the recent USF mission.

Reports focus on lingering effects of Gulf Oil spill

soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Neotropico

    Why do you think BP used that huge amount of dispersants....... because it makes the oil sink, away from being seen! O yes, it also makes it brake into smaller particles which supposedly speeds environmental recovery! But who cares, the damage tends to be higher as it lingers more in the system, thus why the Coast Guard claims they were opposed to using so much of it! There is no way that seafood is safe! Curious that the President went swimming in Florida and not in Louisiana or Mississippi!

    August 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SmarterHuman

      Of course he went swimming at a location that is the farthest away from the spill site, but still considered "The Gulf."

      August 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bryant Rice

    It's hard to take any of you seriously when the vast majority can't write a post without spelling or grammatical errors.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • landmammal72

      When you construct a sentence from a dependent and an iindependent clause, as you did, you need a comma to separate them (after seriously).

      August 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bryant Rice

      First of all, you're wrong. Second, you can't even spell independent correctly, genius.

      August 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceT

      I'm more Inertesrted in waht is bineg siad rhater tahn how Pepole splel.

      August 17, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dpgerb

    I'm not eating anything but fresh water fish right now. Waiting to see if Obama survives his swim without growing more fingers or something.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Wilson

    Gee...and they keep saying the bottom feeders that are shrimp and crabs are safe to eat.....


    August 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. landmammal72

    "Where does all the naturally-seeping oil in the Gulf go? Clearly, 20 million gallons of oil seep into the Gulf naturally and we never see it." Wrong. Try walking on the beaches in Galveston or dozens of other places. Your feet turn black from al of the oil residues -some natural, some maybe not (though the oil industry there claims it's definitely NOT their fault.) There's also a big difference in lots of little seeps letting out a relatively small amount of oil all over the Gulf (20 Million gallons per year is <60,000 gallons per day), and one big leak letting out 4,000,000 gallons each day, all in one spot.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    CNN will post anything that is in line with their agenda. Just wait and see how many stories there are about how life is hard in the US for Muslims to gain sympathy for the mosque. Or all the benefits of immigrants in this country (without mention of their legal status). Or any small sign that the economy is improving. I could go on and on.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Nice job, Bob! Any excuse for xenophobic blathering, huh? What the heck does this story have to do with your fear of Muslims?!?

      August 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Mypoint is that CNN posted this story without any scientific facts backing it up. They only report on stories that help their political agenda and media created president. CNN is biased just like the rest of the MSM...although they are more fair than MSNBC.

      The mosque story reference was just an example. The majority of Americans are against building the mosque close to ground zero because it's insensitive to the victim's families. However, let's not forget that it was radical Muslims that crashed the planes. There is way too much political correctness in this country!

      August 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy C.

      Don't forget about all the media hype over global warming as well. There are many scientests speaking out against man made global warming but the media doesn't report their data. I would like CNN to report all the facts!

      August 17, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • carina lobel-west

      FOCUS, focus, focus, stay on this story, and please don't go on and on !!!!

      August 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Realist

    Those little organisms are the beginning of the food chain. Also keep in mind that the herring fisheries in Valdez did not collapse until three years after the spill

    August 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. SmarterHuman

    I can't SEE any oil, so it must not be there.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. AfraidForTheFishies

    The issue here is larger than any of us can imagine. That much oil being released is (ya I know duh) a man made event. Even if those organisms eat oil- they did not evolve to be our personal catastrophe maids. I am afraid for the effects that will come a year or two from now due to the toxic nature of the small organisms. The impacts on these small organisms will ripple up the food chain. I don't fear for humans- I fear for the fish and other ocean dependent wildlife.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. thatsfunny

    Dear Disillusion Americans who don't understand science. Your leaders have failed you, your mainstream media press owned mostly by Jewish descendants have failed you, your state law makers have failed you, and worst of all.. You have failed YOU.

    Welcome to the future of Corporations destroying and pillaging all in the name of a stock price rise. The best part about all of this is that people believe these leaders when they say the Shrimp are still good to eat. You still believe the news when they say the president is swimming in the Gulf when he wasn't actually swimming in the Gulf at all. Not to mention he was only down there for 26 hours. Hmmm? A bit odd for a "vacation".

    I feel so sorry for you and your futures and our families futures on this planet. Clueless, can't even think on your own. You need a man / woman with makeup in front of a camera to tell you what's going on in our world and then buy every second of it. Good thing they haven't reported that eating cigarette butts is healthy and the new diet. All of you sheeps out there would be doing it.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • SmarterHuman

      I smell an anti-Semite!

      August 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Popeye

      I guess to better informed I should quit reading and watching the news and start paying exclusive attention to your organizations news letter. No bias in there I'm so sure. Obviously you and your friends know a whole lot more than the rest of the world. hey, if I join you club, does a M16 come with the membership card?

      August 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bway

      Other then the Jewish thing, which means nothing other then you might be a anti-Semite. I agree with you. One of the greatest times in man kinds history, is being destroyed by greed, and self-absorption. We need to start educating ourselves and not relying on just our media and Government. The media only cares about Greed, while our government only cares about perceptions for reelections. But our self-absorption is the one thing that doesn’t keep the others in check, making us sheep.

      August 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SmarterHuman

    I was making an audition tape and SUDDENLY my panties fell off. I don't know what happened!

    Oh wait, wrong story! My bad...that was for the Kim Kardashian article.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • landmammal72

      Now THAT's interesting. Link?

      August 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dave

    a lot of you on here are accusing the scientists of fear mongering and not having any data to back them up....Well where is YOUR data saying that everything is just fine and impacts will be minimal? the simple truth is that no one is going to know the true scope of this for months or more likely years

    August 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dpgerb

    thatsfunny. Wow. Just wow. You can get a lot more with sugar than you can with salt. I am confused as to whom you are directing your attack. I know I didn't read all the posts here, but I haven't seen any that indicate to me anyone bought the news story. All the comments seem to be pointing towards the contrary. I am still reeling from your rudeness. You need to learn some manners.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • SmarterHuman

      reply to posts using the reply link!

      August 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Popeye

      I don't know, sugar attracts rats and salt attracts deer.

      August 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. New news

    The Gulf was nasty before the spill and it's still nasty. Time to move on to other news.

    August 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    Rename it to the dead sea! thats what it's gona be!

    August 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
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