ECU Researchers: Oil From BP Spill Got Into Ocean Food Chain

Research by East Carolina University students and faculty has revealed a major impact from the Gulf oil spill.

Research from students from the biology and geological science department show oil from the spill made it into the the oceans food chain through a tiny organism called zooplankton. This is important because zooplankton form the base of the food chain. They say their research helped determine the fingerprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that other researchers will be able to use.

Dr. Siddhartha Mitra, ECU geologist, says, "We have a viable fingerprint, a chemical fingerprint of the BP Oil spill, and so we are then able to go look for that fingerprint."

Dr.David Kimmel, ECU biologist, says, "We can trace the oil from the spill into the food web. What that tells us is that part of the food web at least the base contains chemicals that were found in the oil spill and that tells us that the food web was contaminated in some capacity."

The ECU students provided a great deal of support in researching and writing the recently published paper and are expected to participate in a follow up study.