Recently projected climate changes could have widespread effects on wildlife species. These effects might be positive or negative, depending on the species. Some effects might include extinction, range shifts, mismatches in phenology (timing of pollination, flowering, etc.), and population changes. If the effects of climate change are widespread, there is uncertainty on how wildlife will adapt. Some suggest that evolution and migration will enable species to adapt, whereas others contend that adaptation will be minimal because of limited habitat, and changes in climate that may occur may rapidly than adaptation can respond.
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, and the resulting oil spill began a cascade of effects on the coastal areas of the Gulf and on the wealth of species that inhabit those areas. This report addresses the importance of wetlands in general, the ecology of the coastal wetlands in the Gulf, impacts of oil spills on wetland habitats, response options, the implications of hurricane season for the spill's impacts, and cleanup and recovery issues. The emphasis is on the nearshore environment, although a few species found in deeper waters will be mentioned. In addition, some lessons from past spills such as the Exxon Valdez in Alaska will be discussed, along with issues that may arise as response and recovery transition to restoration of the Gulf.