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Image : Still Toxic After All These Years

Scientists made plaster of Paris casts of fiddler crab burrows in Great Sippewissett Marsh in Falmouth, Mass., which did not receive oil from a 1969 barge spill, and in nearby Wild Harbor, where oil from a 1969 barge spill remains buried beneath a pristine-looking surface. The Sippewissett burrows were straight, with average depths of 14.8 centimeters. Burrows in Wild Harbor areas with residual oil descended an average of only 6.8 centimeters and were stunted. The crabs appear to turn back when they encounter oil. (Illustration by E. Paul Oberlander, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


Last updated: May 24, 2011

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