Montreal bird specialist to assess U.S. oil leak
Published Sunday, May 30, 2010 5:08PM EDT
A local biologist is heading to the Gulf of Mexico this week to lend her expertise to the clean up of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Lynn Miller, who recently completed her Ph.D. in environmental toxicology, studying the effects of oil on birds, and a team of experts have been asked by the U.S. Humane Society to help assess the damage from the oil spill on the region's wildlife - and beyond.
At the request of the Humane Society, Miller and a team of experts will be assessing the impact of the oil spill on wildlife in the region and beyond.
"I looked at the way that birds respond just to the toxic assault from oil," said Miller.
"What I have found is that it crosses the blood-brain barrier very effectively and disrupts many of the neurotransmitters within the brain -- and looks at though it's a permanent change."
So far only about 100 birds near the U.S. coast have required having oiled washed off them, but another 300 have turned up dead.
Miller, who is the co-founder of Le Nichoir Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre in Hudson, said she's curious what the impact will be on the rest of the food chain.
"It's the basis for so many processes that all of us have which makes me wonder a lot about what's going on even for human populations," said Miller
She expects to leave Wednesday will be in the Gulf region for about a week.