Deepwater Horizon: Crude oil at the bottom of the food chain

5,000 barrels of oil (210,000 gallons, or 794,937 liters) a day are thought to be bleeding from a damaged wellhead at the nearby site of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster. All that oil is poisoning the less photogenic creatures—plankton, sand crabs, and fish larvae, among others—at the base of the region's food web, Schweiger noted.


That means the oil is heavier and thicker than the crude spilled in past, tanker-based disasters, noted Ron Kendall, chair of the Department of Environmental Toxicology at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

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