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Study Finds Bacteria Ate Most Methane From BP Well

A new study concludes that the vast quantity of methane gas that spewed from the BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was gobbled up rapidly by bacteria.

About a third of the material that gushed into the ocean from the BP blowout was in gas form, not oil, and the new study is the latest attempt to figure out what happened to all that carbon-rich material. It had the potential, at least, to deplete oxygen that fish and shrimp need.

While most of the world was focusing on the frightening oil slick spreading across the Gulf of Mexico, John Kessler, from Texas A&M University set his focus on the methane.

"We were first out in the middle of June, and it was at that time we were noticing very high concentrations of methane in the deep ocean," Kessler says. The methane didn't seem to be bubbling to the surface ā€” undersea bacteria were eating it, but very slowly.

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