The recent third anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico passed with little public notice. But three years after the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the release of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the long-term effects on the Gulf’s ecology remain uncertain. There’s a continuing need for monitoring possible consequences, as evidenced by some recent research by scientists from LSU, the University of California at Davis and Clemson University.

The researchers found that the embryos of killifish exposed to sediments from oiled locations caused cardiovascular defects, delayed hatching and reduced overall hatching success. The research is significant because the health of the killifish might be a predictor of how other life in the Gulf might fare.

More research is necessary to determine how the oil leak might shape the future of marine life in the Gulf. But the results of the research conducted so far remind us that although the oil leak is receding in public memory, the leak’s impact could prove more durable.