A report released Monday by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that the dolphins residing in the northern Gulf of Mexico are “underweight, anemic, have low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease,” illnesses that NOAA scientists say stem from the BP oil spill.
According to a report from UPI, NOAA scientists studied 32 dolphins living in Barataria Bay in the summer 2011 and found that many are suffering from various illnesses. Some, they say, are too sick to survive:
NOAA biologists found that nearly half of the dolphins also had abnormally low levels of hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.
Since February 2010 more than 675 dolphins have stranded themselves in the northern gulf -- from Franklin County, Fla., to the Louisiana/Texas border -- a rate significantly higher than the usual average of 74 dolphins per year, NOAA biologists said.
The study, according to UPI, is part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment, a broader research effort combining local, state and federal resources to analyze the long-term effects of the BP oil spill.
The Gulf was also dealt another BP blow Monday when a separate study confirmed that the death of a sprawling, colorful community of coral that once served as “vital oases for marine life in chilly ocean depths” is definitely due to the BP spill, according to an Associated Press report published on The Huffington Post’s website:
The injured and dying coral today has bare skeleton, loose tissue and is covered in heavy mucous and brown fluffy material, the paper said. Jerald Ault, a fish and coral reef specialist at the University of Miami who was not part of the study, said the findings were cause for concern because deep-sea corals are important habitat. He said there are many links between animals that live at the surface, such as tarpon and menhaden, and life at the bottom of the Gulf. Ecosystem problems can play out over many years, he said.
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DEC 20 The Robertson family is playing hardball in their dispute with A&E, the network that airs the wildly profitable "reality" show about their family, Duck Dynasty. Patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended by the network after GQ printed an interview with him that contained his (unedited) comments about gay and black folks. Here's a link to their statement, in which they say they can't imagine the show without papa and announcing that they are in negotiations with A&E about the future of the show.
DEC 20 Blogger Robert Mann (also a journalism prof at LSU and thus an authority on the First Amendment) says something in this post of which a lot of Fox News anchors and internet trolls should take heed: the Constitution says you have freedom of speech. It does not say you can't face consequences for what you say. He also takes a look at what our governor has to say -- and ole Bobby had to drag Miley Cyrus into it.
DEC 20 Blogger Tom Aswell says Governor Bobby Jindal has now had more to say about the comments a "reality" star made about gay and black people than he has had to say about the problems in his own voucher program or the sinkhole in Bayou Corne. In fact, Tom points out, Bobby's all over the Phil Robertson "issue" like "a duck on a June bug."
DEC 20 Here's an interesting post from blogger Katie East in DIG Magazine about celebrity passings. She understands why so many would be sad because of Mandela's passing -- he was an international figure, a political figure, an activist. But there is similar wailing following the passing of people who may not have had the same impact, she says -- like the guy who starred in the Fast and Furious movies. She wants to know: why is that?
DEC 20 Columnist James Gill writes about Louisiana's embattled voucher program in this post. Just because a child attends a private school does not mean he's going to get a good education, Gill writes. Gov. Jindal likes to say the program helps kids get a great education, but whether it does that is open to "considerable doubt," Gill writes.
DEC 20 Gambit's Clancy DuBos writes about the NOLA mayor's race in this post. For a while, it was assumed that it would be a quiet one, given the amount of money Mitch has in the bank. But at the last minute, a (possibly) formidable candidate threw his hat in the ring. The question is, Clancy says, why?
DEC 20 In Louisiana's education system, the state takes over a school that is designated as "failing." The assumption is, that's a good thing and will produce improvement. But is that the case? Blogger Mike Deshotels takes a look at how takeovers perform in one area of testing, the ACT.
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