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The Washington Post | Newspapers in Education | June 2010 A Washington Post NIE graphic presentation based on The Washington Post coverage of Gulf Oil.

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Presentation on theme: "The Washington Post | Newspapers in Education | June 2010 A Washington Post NIE graphic presentation based on The Washington Post coverage of Gulf Oil."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Washington Post | Newspapers in Education | June 2010 A Washington Post NIE graphic presentation based on The Washington Post coverage of Gulf Oil Spill Beleaguered Our Waters ERIC GAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 Why drill here? Oil-rich states surround the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA

3 The Gulf is a sedimenta ry basin formed during Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of rising and lowering sea level which buried organic material and formed natural gas. USGS Why is oil found in the Gulf of Mexico?

4 Oil Fuels More Than Cars JAHI CHIKWENDIUTHE/WASHINGTON POST Oil prices fuel economic growth and opportunity Increase in drilling Expansion of refineries Additional building permits Hiring of skilled and specialized labor Growth in housing and hospitality industries

5 What are sources of oil pollution? Natural – cold seeps Ballast water Waste oil pumping In-port oil loss Tanker accidents Exploration loss Motor oil Oil rigs are numerous in the Gulf of Mexico. JAE C. HONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

6 Oil Spilled into the Gulf … NASA

7 … Occurred During Exploration Blowout of wells Accidental damage to offshore drilling rigs Cracks, punctures and erosion to transport pipelines NOAA/NATIONAL BUOY DATA CENTER

8 How does oil affect wildlife? Depends on Type of oil Location of the spill Depth/distance from shore Weather at sea Local wildlife Breeding cycles Seasonal migrations CAROL GUZY/THE WASHINGTON POST

9 Oil May Cause Damage to estuaries, wetlands, coral and oyster reefs, algae, plankton, seagrass, and mangrove habitats Destruction of breeding and feeding grounds for many fish, mammals, birds and invertebrates such as oysters and crabs MARY HOLLINGER/NOAA

10 Why are these habitats important? Oyster reefs, wetlands, and mangroves… Buffer shorelines from storm surge Prevent erosion of wetlands Provide feeding grounds for birds at low tide Filter water, removing excess nutrients, sediment, and algae Provide shelter and food for invertebrates and fish Attract commercial and recreational fishing DAVE MEYER/NOAA RESTORATION CENTER

11 How does the oil spill affect the food web? ARIEL DEUTCH/Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

12 Zooplankton or Oil Droplet? Drifting plankton form a substrate for dispersed oil droplets to cling to, tainting food used at higher levels of the food chain. Oil droplets may be confused by consumers as fish eggs What eats zooplankton? PHOTOS MATT WILSON, JAY CLARK/NOAA

13 Plankton Soup Zooplankton are primary consumers in the food web. MATT WILSON, JAY CLARK/NOAA

14 Oyster Reefs Provide a Habitat … How many organisms can you find on this clump of oysters? STEFAN CLAESSON/NOAA

15 … Rich in Biodiversity Both sessile organisms as well as free- swimming ones find refuge in the reef DR. JAMES P. MCVEY/NOAA

16 How does your oyster grow? Release spat (juvenile oysters) May-August Attach one generation atop another Form mountains of oysters PHOTOS NOAA How will the oil spill affect the production of gametes, settlement of juveniles, and growth of the next generation?

17 Invertebrates Such as Blue Crabs … Females undergo a single mating, storing sperm to periodically fertilize eggs from April to October Food tainted with oil would affect egg and sperm viability since both contain high levels of lipids (fats) Less feeding means less growth Oil dispersants target lipids (also found in eggs) How would dispersants affect the next generation of crabs? PHOTOS NOAA

18 … and Shrimp Spawn off shore in the summer-fall seasons Feed on zooplankton —dispersed oil affects shrimps’ food source Toxins in food source affects health and reproduction PHOTOS NOAA

19 At the Top of the Food Chain Biomagnification is the accumulation of toxins in the tissues of top consumers such as the tuna or dolphin. NOAA

20 What is the effect of oil on marine birds? Illness may prevent breeding Number of eggs laid or thickness of egg is reduced WILLIAM B. FOLSOM/NMFS, NOAA

21 Other Effects on Birds Insulation and water-proofing of feathers destroyed Unable to fly or dive Hypothermia Dehydration Starvation Ulcers (if oil is ingested) Damage to adrenal systems affecting blood pressure and fluid Stress GERALD HERBERT/ASSOCIATED PRESS

22 Marine Mammals, Reptiles and Birds May experience respiratory problems from breathing fumes from oil or droplets of dispersed oil, causing damage to the airways and lungs – congestion, pneumonia, emphysema and even death Sperm whale surfaces off the coast of Mississippi NOAA

23 Whales Biomagnification accumulates toxins in fatty tissue of a mother Fatty tissue is converted into milk Young calves absorb oil through a mother’s milk Oil causes ulceration of skin, mouth and airways PHOTOS NOAA

24 Filter-feeding Whales Tar-like oil clogs the baleen as whales skim the surface of the water, interfering with feeding Suppression of the immune system may cause secondary bacterial or fungal infections Damage to red blood cells impact oxygen transport and metabolism Humpback whales breaching out of the Gulf NOAA

25 Additional Health Impact Liver damage Stress NOAA What are the functions of the liver? Why would the liver be a likely organ to fail?

26 In Marine Reptiles Such as Turtles, Oil Can Damage eyes, causing ulcers, conjunctivitis and blindness, making it difficult for them to find food, sometimes causing starvation Irritate or cause ulceration of skin, mouth and nasal cavities G. McFALL/OAR

27 Contamination of Beaches Causes contamination of eggs, adult turtles and newly hatched turtles BONNIE STRAWSER,/USFWSTIM REID/NOAA

28 What are the countermeasures for oil spills? Skimmers Booms Chemical dispersants Burning Relief wells COURTESY BP

29 What might be the effect of oil spill countermeasures on marine life? Dolphins swim alongside a boom. Oil dispersing chemicals are dropped from an aircraft. CARDIZ/USAFNOAA

30 What is the reach of the oil spill? Current research includes Scientists are comparing the amount of toxins found in shellfish collected from the Gulf Coast area in the 1930's to samples being collected from areas affected by the recent oil spill. Toxins found in May will be compared to August collections. The quantity of oil absorbed and whether the source was from water or food can be determined. PHOTOS NOAA

31 Regeneration NOAA

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