This video says about itself:
3 February 2017
This video says about itself:
3 February 2017
This video says about itself:
Rare Sperm Whale Encounter with ROV | Nautilus Live
14 apr. 2015
At 598 meters (1,962 ft) below the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, ROV Hercules encountered a magnificent sperm whale. The whale circled Hercules several times and gave our cameras the chance to capture some incredible footage of this beautiful creature. Encounters between sperm whales and ROVs are incredibly rare.
E/V Nautilus is exploring the ocean studying biology, geology, archeology, and more. Watch http://www.nautiluslive.org for LIVE video from the ocean floor. For live dive updates follow along on social media at http://www.facebook.com/nautiluslive and http://www.twitter.com/EVNautilus on Twitter.
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Rare turtle beached
According to director Marc Damen of Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam this is a Kemp’s turtle. That is a rare animal: since 1957 it had been seen five times in the Netherlands. The turtle is native to the Gulf of Mexico. It is threatened in its existence there.
Probably it had sailed in ballast water of a container ship. Damen: “If the ships reach the open sea, then they take in ballast water. And before they, for example, enter the port of Rotterdam, they will drop that ballast water. Probably the turtle had been sucked up.”
See also here.
From Wildlife Extra:
The effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that are still emerging
A team led by Charles Fisher from Penn State University in the US has found two additional damaged coral communities up to 22km away from the original site and at depths of more than 1,800m, reports Science Daily.
Fisher’s team compared damaged communities found around the time of the oil spill with the new ones. The former has provided a useful model for the progression of damage caused by the spill over time.
“One of the keys to coral‘s usefulness as an indicator species is that the coral skeleton retains evidence of the damage long after the oil that caused the damage is gone,” said Fisher.
“We were able to identify evidence of damage from the spill in the two coral communities discovered in 2011 because we know exactly what our model coral colonies, impacted by the oil spill in 2010, looked like at the time we found the new communities.”
Corals are sparse in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but because they act as an indicator species for tracking the impact of environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon blowout, the effort to find them pays off in useful scientific data.
The team used 3D seismic data from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to identify 488 potential coral habitats in a 40 km radius around the spill site. From that list they chose the 29 sites they judged most likely to contain corals impacted by the spill.
Towed camera systems and an autonomous underwater vehicle then came into play, which they programmed to travel backwards and forwards across specific areas collecting images of the sites from just metres above the ocean floor.
“We were looking for coral communities at depths of over 1,000m that are often smaller than the size of a tennis court,” said Fisher.
“We needed high-resolution images of the coral colonies that are scattered across these communities and that range in size from a small houseplant to a small shrub.”
In searching for coral communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the team also found two coral sites entangled with commercial fishing line.
These additional discoveries serve as a reminder that the Gulf is being impacted by a diversity of human activities.
BP COULD PAY UP TO $18 BILLION “In the four years since the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has spent more than $28 billion on damage claims and cleanup costs, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and emerged a shrunken giant. But through it all, the company has maintained that it was not chiefly responsible for the accident, and that its contractors in the operation, Halliburton and Transocean, should shoulder as much, if not more, of the blame. On Thursday, a federal judge here for the first time bluntly rejected those arguments, finding that BP was indeed the primary culprit and that only it had acted with ‘conscious disregard of known risks.’” [Story, Image via NYT]
Federal judge Carl Barbier ruled last Thursday that oil giant BP acted with “gross negligence” during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The ruling, part of a civil suit case involving the federal government and five US states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, could potentially quadruple the fines the company faces under the Clean Water Act: here.
BP Well Sprays Crude Oil Mist Over 27 Acres Of Alaskan Tundra: here.
This video from the USA is called Alabama‘s Underwater Forest.
From the Houston Chronicle in the USA:
Divers collecting funds to film ancient, hidden forest discovered in Gulf
By Carol Christian
April 17, 2014 | Updated: April 18, 2014 1:12am
A team of scuba divers is trying to raise $15,000 to make a documentary about a hidden, ancient underwater forest in the Gulf of Mexico.
To enlist the public’s help, they turned to Kickstarter.com, a popular platform for crowd-source fundraising.
By early Thursday afternoon, just one week into the campaign, they had raised more than $10,000. Under Kickstarter rules, they must meet their goal by their own deadline — in this case May 1 — or they get nothing.
The forest is a half-mile-square area of 50,000-year-old cypress stumps perfectly preserved under the ocean floor off the coast of Alabama. When the wood is cut, it has a “cypressy” smell, and sap oozes out of it, Raines said.
“That’s 50,000-year-old sap coming out of these trees,” said team member Ben Raines, a former reporter for the Mobile Press Reporter who is now executive director of the Weeks Bay Foundation in Fairhope, Ala.
Rewards offered by the team to Kickstarter donors range from access to high resolution photos, for a $10 contribution, to a chance to dive at the site, for a $2,000 pledge.
“We got our first taker today,” Raines said Thursday of the $2,000 donation.
Money raised beyond the goal will allow the team to do more filming and prepare special graphics, Raines said.
Others behind the documentary proposal are Chas Broughton, owner of Underwater Works in Fairhope, Ala., and Eric Lowe, the photographer for above-water shots. Raines is the underwater photographer.
The forest’s existence has generated intense interest around the world since its discovery was announced a couple years ago, Raines said.
Its exact location, about 15 miles off the coast, has been kept secret to prevent harmful disruption to the site, including commercial salvaging of the stumps, he said.
The Weeks Bay Foundation is working on a federal designation as a marine sanctuary for the ancient forest that divers have described as a “magical fairy land,” Raines said.
Those who have seen it now believe the forest was uncovered in September 2004, when Hurricane Ivan hit Alabama after pounding the Caribbean, Raines said.
“Ivan had 90-foot waves associated with it, the largest waves ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said. “We think they scoured the bottom. Waves have as much power underwater as above the water.”
Now that the cypress stumps have been exposed to oxygen, they are starting to decay but fortunately, Raines said, cypress wood decays slowly.
This video from the USA is called Gulf Oil Spill Birds – Don’t Let Kids Watch.
Scientists fear BP blowout killed far more birds than officially reported
By Bob Marshall, Staff writer
April 15, 2014 2:43pm
Almost from the start, wildlife advocates described the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as a war on the Gulf ecosystem. Few quibbled with that analogy as a record 210 million gallons spewed into the Gulf just 50 miles from one of the world’s most productive coastal estuaries.
Yet four years later, wildlife workers, especially those concerned about birds, are skeptical of one metric commonly used to assess wars of any kind: the official body count.
For example, the official count of brown pelicans killed by BP’s oil stands at 577, which doesn’t seem like a big hit on a population estimated in the neighborhood of 85,000. Similarly, the total of 6,381 for all birds killed in the Gulf from populations numbering in the hundreds of thousands would seem insignificant.
But wildlife specialists say those numbers are likely low by a factor of at least 10 — and no one should think the worst is over for the pelicans and a host of other less heralded bird species in the northern Gulf.
Accurate counts of wildlife deaths in spills are always difficult because stricken animals frequently crawl away to die or sink to the bottom of a water body, while others make easy targets for predators, said Melanie Driscoll, the National Audubon Society’s director of bird conservation for the Gulf Coast.
To compensate for those factors, spill specialists use multipliers supplied by computer models.
In the Exxon Valdez event — a smaller spill in a smaller area than the Deepwater Horizon — scientists put the number of dead birds at 225,000, a figure arrived at after applying multipliers ranging from 10 to 30 to the total number carcasses of various species that were actually recovered.
“In some cases the multiplier can be 12 or 5 or even 20,” said Driscoll. “I’ve seen a number as high as 50 by one group for dolphins and whales in this spill. So that would mean if 20 dead dolphins were collected, you multiply that number by 50, and you get 1,000 – which would be much closer to the actual damage done.
“In this spill I would expect the multipliers for birds to be huge.”
That’s because recovery operations during the Deepwater Horizon disaster faced additional complications. The spill occurred at the beginning of the five-month nesting season for pelicans and other birds, and it covered a much larger area than the Exxon Valdez — 68,000 square miles compared to 11,000.
“The decision was made not try to recover dead birds from the nesting islands to avoid causing even more deaths,” said Driscoll. “That meant most of those sites were not searched until late August or early September at the earliest” — months after the disaster struck, in April.
The delay meant adult pelicans, their eggs and then their young were being contaminated as long as BP’s oil was in Barataria Bay. Plastic and cloth booms placed around the islands to collect the oil provided only marginal protection because the pelicans’ daily food searches took them into the oil-fouled waters beyond the booms.
Less fortunate adults were completely soaked in oil, and the heart-breaking photos of their struggles soon became iconic images of the disaster.
Pairs returning to their nests with oil on their feathers smeared the toxic substance on porous eggs they were incubating. And when the surviving young were old enough, they walked and swam through the weathered oil around the booms.
Driscoll said by the time search teams entered the islands, many birds that had died from oil contamination likely had decomposed or had been eaten by scavengers. Nor could there ever be an accurate count of the eggs that failed to hatch due to the oil.
She said the real toll on all birds in the northern Gulf could reach six figures because the delay in counting could mean “thousands, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of carcasses just disappeared.”
The location of this spill would only add to the multiplier, she said. In the sub-tropical Gulf, predation takes place 24/7, 365, which means anything of food value doesn’t last long.
“It’s an incredibly productive system so that means there is also an incredible number of predators,” Driscoll said. “And this was spread over a really huge area, which complicated the collection as well.”
The difficulty of coming up with an accurate number has been compounded by the paucity of post-spill research on birds in the impacted area, Driscoll said.
“Of the $500 million BP set aside for research on Deepwater Horizon impacts, dozens and dozens of studies have been done on oysters and fish, and I know of just two that have been started on birds,” she said.
“I understand the studies on oysters and fish; everybody needs to know what’s happening in the food chain. But we are four years removed from the spill, and we don’t have answers to questions like what the long-term impacts could be.”
Research by government agencies as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment has been kept from the public. That’s because monetizing the damage done to fish, wildlife and habitat plays out like a personal-injury lawsuit, with opposing sides reluctant to tip off the other to their findings.
One study in Minnesota on the breeding success of white pelicans, winter residents of coastal Louisiana, is a cause for concern. October arrivals in Gulf waters, the whites would have missed most of the surface oil, but they spent the next six months feeding on fish in bays polluted by the disaster. The researchers collected 200 eggs that didn’t hatch and looked for evidence of oil contamination.
“The study is still under way, but of the first 30 un-hatched eggs they looked at, 90 percent had the chemical signature of Deepwater Horizon oil,” Driscoll said, “and 80 percent had the signature of the dispersant Corexit, which was widely used during the spill.
“Now there may have been other reasons why these eggs didn’t hatch. But what they found is significant — and it’s the kind of research we should be doing on many other species here in the Gulf, but we aren’t.”
One clue to the long-term impact of the spill on Louisiana brown pelicans could arrive this summer as many of the birds born during the disaster enter their first spawning season.
But while Louisiana residents are understandably focused on their state bird — which ironically was taken off the endangered list five months before the spill — Driscoll said the ornithological community has graver concerns about other species.
“Pelicans got a lot of attention, and deservedly so, but the reality is their populations have been doing quite well with all the help they’ve received from humans over the last 40 years,” she said.
“They have a fairly large population with as many as 70,000 to 80,000 in Louisiana alone, and many more in other states. But there are only 6,000 Wilson’s plovers in the entire Gulf, so losing even a small number of that species could be a real problem.”
In fact, the official list of birds killed by the spill shows only two Wilson’s plover carcasses collected. But that doesn’t assure Driscoll that the plover population escaped major damage.
“A body count in these spills is just that — a count of the carcasses that were found, not an accurate picture of how many were really killed,” said Driscoll. “What’s been so frustrating in our community is the lack of information.
“We just don’t know yet, and we might not for a long, long time.”
The post-BP story of the Brown Pelican illustrates the crisis confronting the Gulf Coast: here.
Four Years Later, BP Oil Spill Still Taking A Toll On Gulf Fisherman: ‘We Haven’t Started To Recover’: here.
BP claims mission accomplished in Gulf cleanup; Coast Guard begs to differ: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
30 April 2010
The next victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be the birds that depend on the region’s fertile shorelines, bayous and marshes. American Bird Conservancy‘s Michael Fry talks to Jorge Ribas about the situation.
From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Wildlife in Gulf of Mexico still suffering four years after BP oil spill: report
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
Wednesday 9 April 2014 15.54 BST
The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused dangerous after-effects to more than a dozen different animals from dolphins to oysters, a report from an environmental campaign group said on Tuesday.
Four years after the oil disaster, some 14 species showed symptoms of oil exposure, the report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said.
“The oil is not gone. There is oil on the bottom of the gulf, oil washing up on the beach and there is oil in the marshes,” Doug Inkley, senior scientist for NWF, told a conference call.
At the top of the food chain, more than 900 bottlenose dolphins have been found dead or stranded in the oil spill area since April 2010, when the BP well exploded. Last year, dolphins were still stranding at more than three times the average annual rates before the spill, the report said.
A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Barataria Bay, which was heavily oiled during the spill, found dolphins were underweight and anaemic, and showing signs of liver and lung disease.
“These are top-level species that are in trouble,” Inkley said. “When you see sick dolphins like we do in Barataria Bay that tells you there is a problem and it needs to be examined even further.”
Sea turtles have also been stranding at a higher rate since the spill, the report said. “Roughly 500 stranded sea turtles have been found in the area affected by the spill every year from 2011 to 2013.”
Last month, NOAA researchers linked the oil from BP’s well to irregular heart beats in embryonic and newborn tuna. “We can now say with certainty that oil causes cardiotoxicity in fish,” Stanford University fish biologist Barbara Block told a press conference at the time.
BP has discounted the studies on dolphin and tuna.
The NWF report catalogued damage to other species from the spill from oysters – which showed declines in reproduction across large areas of the northern Gulf – to sperm whales, which have exhibited higher levels of metals than whales elsewhere.
NWF scientists said it could take years before the full effects of the oil spill on marine life were understood.
Much of the research on the effects of the spill is being gathered as evidence in legal proceedings that will attempt to set a dollar figure on the amount BP has to pay to restore the Gulf.