A recent Endangered Species Research special issue summarizes some of the devastating longterm effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on protected marine mammals and sea turtles. The issue compiles 20 scientific studies authored by NOAA scientists and partners covering more than five years' worth of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The research indicates that populations of several marine mammal and sea turtle species will take decades to rebound. Significant habitat restoration in the region will also be needed.
NOAA scientists used a variety of cutting-edge research methods in these studies and many others as part of a Natural Resource Damage Assessment. This is the legal process where we investigate the type of injuries caused by the oil spill, quantify how many animals were harmed, develop a restoration plan to compensate for the natural resource injuries, and hold responsible parties liable to pay for the restoration.
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