02/22/2011 12:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dolphin Deaths In Gulf Region Spike, Probably Because Of That Massive Oil Spill That Happened

Ten months ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving behind an "oil volcano" belching millions of gallons of poison into the waters of the Gulf region. The spill was stopped up in mid-September, weeks after most of the media started pretending that the massive quantities of oil had basically disappeared, perhaps eaten by magical microbes!

So, how is the marine life in the Gulf doing these days? Dying off, actually, thanks for asking!

Baby dolphins, some barely three feet in length, are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines at 10 times the normal rate of stillborn and infant deaths, researchers are finding.

The Sun Herald has learned that 17 young dolphins, either aborted before they reached maturity or dead soon after birth, have been collected along the shorelines.

The director of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies, Moby Solangi (and yes, that's a pretty fantastic name for someone who studies marine mammals), says that these findings are "significant, especially in light of the BP oil spill." Indeed: one would imagine.

Meanwhile, here's your "So Where Did All The Oil Go" update:

Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.

That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012.


"Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know," [University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha] Joye said, later adding: "there's a lot of it out there."

As Robert L. Cavnar pointed out earlier this week, this is at odds with a report published by Terry Hazen of Berkeley National Labs, which asserted that "microbes were quickly degrading the oil and that it would soon be gone."

Of Joye's study, Cavnar says:

To my knowledge, this is the first rigorous study done of the sea floor that has been made public. It's not surprising that it directly contradicts the claims made by the US government over the last six months that everything in the Gulf is okey-dokey.

Infant dolphin deaths spiking in Gulf after oil spill [McClatchy Newspapers]
Scientist Finds Bottom Of Gulf Still Oily, Dead [AP]

New Study Shows BP Macondo Oil Still "On the Bottom"
Spill Media Response: Where's The Oil?

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