Study: BP spill did wide damage to sea-floor life

FILE - In an April 21, 2010 file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns after a deadly explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

FILE - In an April 21, 2010 file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns after a deadly explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

— A Texas A&M researcher says the BP oil spill did at least moderate damage to the tiny animals that live on the sea floor for about 57 square miles around the Macondo well, with severe damage covering about nine square miles.

Paul Montagna (mon-TAN-yuh) says it could be a generation or more before the creatures recover.

The study was published Tuesday in the online journal PLOS One.

Louisiana State University researcher Paul Carney said Wednesday that it's the first-large-scale look at the largest habitat in deep water.

The study is part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment that will help decide what damages BP must pay. Montagna says he expects to be subpoenaed as part of the litigation spawned by the oil spill.

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