Discovery Park

Oil, Water and Wildlife: the Gulf of Mexico Disaster and Related Environmental Issues

July 23, 2010

John W. Bickham, Director of the Center for the Environment, Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

The BP Macondo oil field spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest oil spill in US history and has the potential to impact sea turtle and marine mammal populations, among others.  This presentation will review the genotoxic effects of oil exposure in wildlife and discuss the potential for an oil spill to impact wildlife populations.  Whereas some aspects of a spill are predictable, each spill is different because oils are highly variable as are the environments in which they occur.  I will discuss what has been learned from previous spills including the Exxon Valdez and the soviet oil legacy in Azerbaijan, and potential dangers of offshore oil development in the Arctic.  Related Purdue University research efforts in oil-spill related engineering and science also will be highlighted.

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