In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill dumped about 250 million gallons of oil - 5 million bathtubs full - into the Gulf of Mexico. How catastrophic will the long-term impacts be?
Join researchers to investigate how the spill has affected wildlife populations, specifically the common loon, an especially vulnerable Gulf-dweller.
Lots of people associate the haunting cry of the loon with northern latitudes. But after migrating astonishing distances, many of those same birds spend their winters in the Gulf of Mexico. Winter is a stressful time for loons - they’re adjusting to moving from freshwater lakes to the ocean, and they also undergo a complete wing molt, which makes them flightless for four to six weeks. Loons, then, may prove very sensitive to the Gulf oil spill’s lingering effects.
You can help scientists find out exactly how these loons are doing. Experience the Gulf at night as you go out in boats to capture loons, record their measurements, and help scientists take blood samples.
You’ll learn how to process and analyze these samples. You’ll also observe loon behavior during the day, scouting for birds on the water and recording what they do as they go about their birdly business.
You’ll help scientists establish a long-term presence in the Gulf so that they can tell the story of the loons there. You’ll also have an unparalleled chance to help the Gulf’s wildlife in the wake of one of the largest environmental crises in U.S. history.