Discovered: BP spill killed fledgling fish; middle-aged monkeys wonder what's the point; caves reveal sea level rise; how many scientists does it take to get to the bottom of the owl's soundless flight?
How Deepwater Horizon affected fish. It's been two-and-a-half years since the BP oil spill, but we're just beginning to size up the damage it did to the Gulf of Mexico's smaller species. Researchers studying the event presented their assessment of the damage at this year's meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, revealing that low levels of oil exposure killed many embryos and hatchling fish, and that it caused survivors to develop serious deformities. Water that contained 5 to 10 micrograms per liter of weathered oil killed half of baby fish from species as diverse as tuna to minnows. And the fish that weren't killed could only swim 70 percent as fast as their non-deformed peers, according to experiments that found "severely reduced swimming performance." [ScienceNews]
Monkeys at midlife. Researchers led by the University of Warwick's Andrew Oswald have discovered that middle-aged chimpanzees and orangutans suffer from an emotional slump—just like humans do! "We find it for these creatures that don’t have a mortgage and don’t have to go to work and don’t have marriage and all the other stuff," says Oswald. These findings may or may not point to an evolutionary precedent for why your dad started acting so weird around the time you entered middle school. [The Washington Post]