May 7, 2010

Florida Braces for Oil Spill

The continuing huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could reach the Florida Keys in the next few days if wind and currents push them in that direction. Reef Check has reached out to potential volunteers from a number of groups and created a plan to try to to assist state and federal authorities to protect what can be protected and to document impacts of the oil. Interestingly, there is conflicting information about direct impacts of various types of oil on coral reef organisms, but most experts seem to agree that seagrass beds and mangrove forests are highly vulnerable. Because adult corals themselves have a mucous coating, this helps to protect them from some effects. But since each type of oil is quite different, no one really knows what the effects of this spill will be on the thousands of species of organisms found on Florida reefs. Damage from the Exxon Valdez spill is still continuing 20 years later.  If you are interested to help join the efforts to protect Florida’s reefs, please contact William Djubin at 561-308-8848 or