Media Greet Weatherbird II

Crew collected samples that will undergo testing to see if marine life has been impacted by the spill.


By Vickie Chachere


St. Petersburg, Fla. (May 28, 2010) – The R/V Weatherbird II and its team of researchers returned home Friday morning to begin the task of further testing on water and fish samples collected during a six-day mission into the oil spill zone in the Gulf of Mexico.


University of South Florida biological oceanographer Ernst Peebles told a group of media gathered at the dock that the crew did not encounter a black glob of oil, but rather discovered a wide area with high levels of dissolved hydrocarbons, which can not be seen with the naked eye.


The crew also collected samples of marine life that will undergo testing to see if they have been impacted by the huge oil spill that is now estimated to be at least twice the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaskan waters. The Gulf oil spill occurred after the oil drilling platform Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20.


The researchers were in an area northeast of the leaking well.