Tiny Gulf sea creature could shed light on impact of oil spill

August 28th, 2010 - 2:46 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 28 (ANI): A University of Alabama molecular biologist plans to collect sea anemones that live in Gulf Coast waters back to his lab in order to better understand the impact of the oil spill on marine life.

Dr. Matthew Jenny will be analysing the tiny creatures, which are related to the corals that build ocean reefs.

“We will also bring back live specimens and maintain them in clean seawater to allow them to recover from the oil exposure,” Jenny said.

Jenny will compare the live specimens of Nematostella vectensis, a specific kind of anemone, to those preserved at the time of collection to see how the two groups’ functions and vital processes differ, as well as how they differ molecularly.

These results will be compared to complementary laboratory experiments where the anemones have been fed Artemia larvae contaminated with oil and dispersant. These larvae are microscopic, shrimp-like animals, raised in the laboratory within various concentrations of oil with or without dispersant.

Results from this project, in combination with various other research efforts, are expected to assist scientists in predicting the long-term impact of the oil spill, and future disasters, on organisms and their environments. (ANI)

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