BP oil spill affects Gulf baitfish

A recent study has shown that fish in Gulf of Mexico marshes that were affected by last year’s BP oil spill have undergone changes that may cause both reproductive and developmental problems.

The Louisiana State University study – which appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – found that killifish, a small baitfish, had endured damage from the spill, even though the samples of oil found in the fish were either extremely low or nonexistent, according to The Associated Press.

“Their biology is telling us that they’ve been a), exposed to these chemicals and b), affected by them in negative ways,” Andrew Whitehead, study lead author and an associate professor of biology at LSU, said, reports The Washington Post. “Very low-level exposures can cause these toxic effects.”

Researchers examined the fish and found that they had experienced damage to their gills and internal organs. In addition, the fish appeared to be smaller now than they were before the spill.

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