Reflection Paper on Gulf Oil Spill

Category: Nature, Oil Spill, Water
Last Updated: 25 May 2023
Pages: 3 Views: 91

Reflection Paper on Gulf Oil Spill This presentation had a deep impact on me because I had been living in Gulf Breeze, Florida at the time of the spill. Gulf Breeze is located 15 miles West of Pensacola and the reefs and beaches were severely impacted by it. Not only did the spill impact the environment but also the tourism which that city needed to thrive; in turn businesses closed and restaurants plundered. When I looked outside my bedroom window at the ocean, instead of seeing the bright blue colored ocean waves, I instead looked out at green murky foam covered waves and algae blooms.

The sand got covered in black oil and impacted the sea birds that used the splashing waves to gather small fish and organisms. So, when I listened to this presentation, I could relate to what the presenter was saying because I had witnessed firsthand how badly this affected the environment, but at the time I did not realize how it affected the reefs. What I found interesting about the presentation was the before and after pictures.

He had mentioned that the scientists used autonomous underwater vehicles that took high resolution map images of reefs that were 400-500 meters underwater (beforehand didn’t even realize some reefs were there). These images were used to help scientists take data on finding new coral sites and witness the affects the oil spill had on them. He mentioned at first they didn’t think the corals were being affected because pictures showed that the corals looked the same as they did last year.

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At this time scientists were more concerned with marine animals and shorelines than the reefs. At second look even the corals looked fine, and scientists took lots of samples to see if the oil had reached the sites. A sediment trap was used to research the corals and the research showed that plankton filled the cups and that oil had made its way to the coral sites but that it had not affected them. What I learned was that, oil coming out of a well was 100*C, this was entering water that was 4*C at high pressure.

This oil formed a fine deep water plume of mist and most of this mist settled at 12 meter depths. When scientists took a third look at the coral reefs they realized that this black mist had affected them. When corals are stressed, they realize mucus, and this proved they were dying. Progression of damage was watched by the scientists by taking photos and videos over time. Months showed how parts of some of the corals got better while others lost tissue, had damage to their polyps, some fell off when touched and others were full of oil.

The presenter also mentioned that in order to see how much damage they went to many different coral sites to witness the damage. In conclusion, they found that the farther away from the oil spill they got the better the coral reefs were. He also concluded that hydroids were forming on the corals which will sting and kill the coral by pollination, and also that the brittle star that was shown in a picture had moved overtime, when they never move at all.

I really liked this presentation because it influenced me to want to help in whatever way I can to restore and help these important marine environments. Corals are 400+ years old, the damage to them is irreversible, and there is no way that we can replace them. People have to realize that this is a major problem and the protection of these precious sites needs to be enacted. I am not sure just how to do this, but just by making suggestions and learning as much as we can is a stepping stone to a bigger impact.

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Reflection Paper on Gulf Oil Spill. (2017, Apr 22). Retrieved from

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