Slideshow: Coral Reefs Threatened by Oil Plumes

One of the most fascinating and unique features of the Gulf of Mexico is a string of thriving deepwater coral reefs which ring the Gulf. In recent years, NOAA and others, including GRN, have been interested in designating many of these deepwater reefs as Marine Protected Areas, but most of these areas still lack such protections.Two of these sites are directly in the path of BP’s oil drilling disaster, and many other significant deepwater corals are close to the impact zone (click for map of some of the sites). Now, the New York Times is reporting that scientists are concerned with how underwater oil plumes will affect a newly discovered deepwater reef just 20 miles from the epicenter of the disaster. Click on the picture below to see a slideshow of photos from a recent expedition to this coral reef.A close-up of the scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa. Image courtesy of Lophelia II 2009: Deepwater Coral Expedition: Reefs, Rigs, and Wrecks.Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Mississippi Organizer

Scroll to Top