Telegraph TV, part of the London Daily Telegraph news organization, interviewed UL Biology professor Dr. Suzanne Fredericq about the impact the oil spill and the dispersants are having on Gulf algae, and why that is important.

By Alastair Good, the Gulf of Mexico.

Delicate red algae is being suffocated by the oil from the BP Gulf spill.Biologist Dr Suzanne Fredericq from the University of Louisiana has been collecting samples from areas of the Gulf where oil has come ashore.

These samples have revealed that the sensitive red algae once prevalent in the area has been smothered by the oil, killing it off to be replaced in some places by the more opportunistic green algae.

"This is important because it shows reducing diversity in the Gulf,' explains Dr Fredericq, ' and we don't know what effect this will have on the food chain."

Dispersants used to break up the oil may also be causing more harm than good as they cause the oil to fall to the ocean floor where more algae lives and where crabs and oysters are also vulnerable.

As Dr Fredericq says: "The oil companies done some small tests but what is okay for one crab in a controlled environment may not be so good for many crustaceans out in the ocean."

Her main concern is that the impact she has seen on the beaches is replicated out in the deep ocean where there is not only more biological diversity, but also infinitley more oil to affect it.


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