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Tulane Researchers Want Long-Term Funding To Study BP Oil Effects On Migrating Birds

Bird Researcher.jpg
Ken Murphy
Tulane University Public Relations

Researchers at Tulane University are calling for long-term studies on how the Deepwater Horizon oil spill two years ago is affecting migratory birds. Traces of BP’s oil spilled in the Gulf is being spread far inland by the birds.

Lead author Jessica Renee Henkel says research has been under way since October 2010, a month after the blown-out well was sealed. She says one million birds migrate through the northern Gulf habitats every year. And she’s still seeing oil in marshes and along barrier islands and beaches — areas all used by migrating birds.

“We’re also calling for funding for long-term studies here on the Gulf Coast for shorebirds, because we know that as we have big storm surges and things like that, the oil that is more subsurface gets re-suspended and is washing up on these beaches," Henkel said. "It’s going to have the potential to continually expose these birds to that residual oil for many years to come. So we think it’s important to continue monitoring them for a very long time.” 

Henkel says oil from the BP spill has been traced to white pelican nests in Minnesota. She’s calling on researchers as far away as the Arctic to look specifically for traces of BP’s oil.

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