Why the Oil in This Crab Could Be Very Bad News

Effects in small sea creatures could ripple upwards
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 14, 2010 12:24 PM CDT
Why the Oil in This Crab Could Be Very Bad News
A state marine biologist displays shrimp, fish and other marine life caught during a test trawl on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, near Dauphin Island, Ala.   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

Scientists are reporting early signs that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is altering the marine food web by killing or tainting some creatures while spurring the growth of others more suited to a polluted environment. Near the spill site scientists have found a massive die-off of pyrosomes, which endangered sea turtles feed on, while oil is being found inside young crabs—eaten by fish, shorebirds and turtles—along the shore.

Meanwhile, tiny organisms that consume oil and gas are flourishing. Scientists warn of a grim reshuffling of sealife that could over time cascade through the ecosystem and imperil the region's multibillion-dollar fishing industry, the AP reports. However, seafood safety tests on hundreds of fish, shrimp, and other marine life that could make it into the food supply so far have turned up negative for dangerous oil contamination. (More Gulf oil spill stories.)

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