Local environmentalist discusses oil problems under the surface

The Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig exploded on April 20th 2010, triggering the worst offshore spill in US history. Five years later a major concern of many is the oil that is still at the bottom of the ocean.

Suzanne Fredericq is a local biology professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She studies the effects the spill has had on seaweed and algae. “In areas that were very rich in algae and crustacean at about 60-75 meters everything now has not recovered.”

Professor Fredericq says ocean samples believed to be dead while in the field, have been collected over the past five years. Once brought back to the lab and placed in fresh tanks, she says the samples defy the odds and begin to grow again. “Even though people don’t see it, don’t realize what’s going on everything is hidden, but because of that the gulf is still not healthy.”

Professor Fredericq says the best thing society can do is continue to study the environment, but that ignoring the problems still lingering below won’t make them go away. “It’s not as obvious like I said as those big dolphins or pelicans that die but its really more important because this is at the base of the whole ecosystem. And this has not recovered yet in the field but what is fascinating is that it has the potential to recover.”

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