by Andrew Follett, June 28 in ClimateChangeDipatch
The study found that dispersants broke up the oil into tiny droplets, making them less buoyant and unable to float to the surface. This meant that the oil formed a layer deep below the surface of the water, making it easier for microbes that live in the deep ocean to eat it. However, scientists weren’t able to measure the exact amount of oil eliminated by the microbes.
Due largely to these oil-eating bacteria, the Gulf of Mexico recovered from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill faster than scientists thought possible and has returned to pre-spill levels of environmental health.