The Beacon

Good News from the Alabama Alps

Today’s expedition update, which comes to you from scientist-in-charge Dr. Michael Hirshfield, contains some good news about the Alabama Alps:

Sunday, September 12

After making several transects of the Alabama Alps today and comparing Oceana’s observations with those from previous scientific investigations, we believe to have a fairly good snapshot of the area.

Based on what we saw from the ROV footage and CTD scans, there are no obvious signs that this area was harmed by the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Here’s Oceana conducting a CTD scan:

CTD Scan by Oceana Latitude at Alabama Alps 09.12.20 from Oceana on Vimeo.

 

In only a few short hours, we saw a diverse and abundant underwater community, teeming with life. This section of “The Pinnacles” was covered by a wide variety of invertebrates, including a number of species of corals and sponges. Everywhere the ROV looked, black cup coral, sea whips, crinoids and gorgonians were in view.

We also spotted a moray eel and scorpionfish as well as amberjacks, bigeye, butterfly fish, angelfish, starfish, basket stars, and arrow and hermit crabs. This is certainly an area worthy of protection.

Tomorrow, Oceana will explore an even deeper site on the edge of DeSoto Canyon, only 25 miles from the Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster. This is especially important given the continued reports that oil is being found on the seafloor in this area.

Psst -- we have almost 160,000 signatures on our petition to stop offshore drilling. Have you signed yet? Also, shout-out to Nautica, whose support makes our use of the ROV possible. Thanks!


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