Ocean Alliance has spent the last four summers in the Gulf of Mexico studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on sperm whales with our partners—the Wise Laboratory at the University of Southern Maine and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Now as BP declares that “active cleanup” has been concluded, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has released a report compiling study after study showing that the Gulf is far from healthy.
In addition to studies about fish, birds, shellfish and other species, the report cites our work with the Wise Laboratory concerning sperm whales sampled during Odyssey expeditions in the Gulf after the oil spill. During our 2000-2005 Voyage of the Odyssey expedition we collected samples from sperm whales around the globe. This global sample set gives us an opportunity to put whatever data we find in regional studies (such as the Gulf of Mexico) into a global context. In this paper the team from the Wise laboratory compared levels of heavy metals found in sperm whales in the Gulf with levels found in the rest of the world–and in the Gulf those levels were higher. The abstract can be read here.
The Wise Laboratory team continues to publish their findings on the data we collect and as each study is published we will share it with you.