Long-term consequences of coastal development as bad as an oil spill on coral reefs

Oil pollution is known to cause lethal and sublethal responses on coral communities in the short-term, but its long-term effects have not been widely studied. The Bahia Las Minas oil spill, which contaminated about 40 square kilometers (about 15 square miles) near the Smithsonian’s Galeta Point Marine Laboratory in Colon and became the largest recorded near coastal habitats in Panama, served as an opportunity to understand how coral reefs in tropical ecosystems recover from acute contamination over time.