Category Archives: Science

ZomBees spread, parasite-infected honeybees


An Apocephalis borealis female oviposits on bee. After being infected by the fly parasite, bees abandon their hives to congregate at night near lights, dying after a bout of disoriented, "zombie-like" behavior. Researchers at SF State confirmed this week the first "zombie bee" discovery in the southern United States. Photo credit: Christopher Quock

An Apocephalis borealis female oviposits on bee. After being infected by the fly parasite, bees abandon their hives to congregate at night near lights, dying after a bout of disoriented, “zombie-like” behavior. Researchers at SF State confirmed this week the first “zombie bee” discovery in the southern United States. Photo credit: Christopher Quock

Call them the flying dead, six-legged critters infected by parasites that hijack their bodies and force them perform in ways contrary to their own interests.

It all might be merely amusing, except that the creature in question is essential to the reproduction of so many of the foods that we and other creatures depend on for our very survival.

From San Francisco State University

Parasitized honey bees, or “zombees,” have been found for the first time in the Southern United States, according to researchers at San Francisco State University. The discovery, made in Collinsville, Virginia, was announced this week by ZomBee Watch, a project based at the University.

SF State Professor of Biology John Hafernik and his colleagues first reported parasitized honey bees in 2012 in an article in the journal PLOS ONE. After being infected with a fly parasite, the bees abandon their hives to congregate at night near lights, dying after a bout of disoriented, “zombie-like” behavior. Hafernik and other researchers are tracking the phenomenon with the help of more than 2,000 citizen scientists who report possible parasitized bee sightings to ZomBee Watch.

Early zombee sightings were mostly limited to the U.S. West Coast and South Dakota, but the latest discovery adds to the mounting evidence that the phenomenon is widespread on the East Coast as well. Parasitized bees were found for the first time in New England in 2013, followed by the mid-Atlantic region and upstate New York in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

“The important next steps are to determine how common the phenomenon is in Eastern honey bees, whether it might be spreading and increasing in intensity and how serious it is for the health of honey bee colonies,” Hafernik said.

In order to do that, Hafernik is urging more individuals to join the zombee hunt to help researchers collect more data regarding the spread of zombie bees. He and his team have developed a series of videos to help new hunters get started, and Hafernik says now is the ideal time to get involved.

“We expect that infection rates will rise during the summer and peak in the fall,” he said. “We are already receiving reports of honey bees being hard hit this year in the Hudson Valley of New York. More than ever, we need citizen scientists to join the ZomBee Watch team, to be on the lookout for honey bees acting strangely in their area and report their observations.”

From ZomBee Watch, a constantly updated map keeps track of suspected sightings, along with updates on whether or not suspected cases are confirmed.

From ZomBee Watch, a constantly updated map keeps track of suspected sightings, along with updates on whether or not suspected cases are confirmed.

The Virginia bees were discovered by Collinsville beekeeper Lynn Berry earlier this spring. Berry had noticed bees congregating near his garage lights, but thought nothing of it until a state inspector came to a meeting of the local beekeeping club and told attendees about the zombee phenomenon. Berry collected his samples and sent them to Brian Brown, a phorid fly expert at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who confirmed that one had been infected by the Apocephalis borealis fly, the parasite behind the zombee infestations. The fly infects a honey bee by depositing its eggs into the bee’s abdomen. A few days after the bee dies, fly larvae burst out from between the bee’s head and thorax.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Climate change poses Caribbean drought threat


Continuing with our Thursday drought theme comes a stark warning a dry times ahead for the Caribbean as climate change intensifies.

From the United Nations News Center:

Climate change is expected to increase the intensity and frequency of droughts in the Caribbean, so countries in the region must enhance their capabilities to deal with this and other extreme weather-related challenges to ensure food security and hunger eradication, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said in a new report.

The report, Drought Characteristics and Management in the Caribbean, found that the Caribbean region faces significant challenges in terms of drought, FAO said.

“Drought ranks as the single most common cause of severe food shortages in developing countries, so this is a key issue for Caribbean food security,” said Deep Ford, FAO Regional Coordinator in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean region already experiences drought-like events every year, with low water availability often impacting on agriculture and water resources, and a significant number of bush fires, FAO noted.

The region also experiences intense dry seasons, particularly in years when El Niño climate events are present. FAO said that the impacts of this are usually offset by the next wet season, but wet seasons often end early and dry seasons last longer, with the result that annual rainfall is less than expected.

The Caribbean region accounts for seven of the world’s top 36 water-stressed countries, while one of them – Barbados – is in the top 10, according to FAO.

Impacts of drought on agriculture and food security

With droughts becoming more seasonal in nature in the Caribbean region, agriculture is the most likely sector to be impacted, with serious economic and social consequences, FAO emphasized.

This is particularly important because most of Caribbean agriculture is rainfed. With irrigation use becoming more widespread in the region, countries’ fresh-water supply will become an increasingly important resource, FAO said.

Small-scale, family farmers, are particularly vulnerable to drought – low rainfall threatens rainfed crops and low water levels result in increased production costs due to increased irrigation.

Extensive droughts also cause increased vulnerability in livestock as grazing areas change in nutritional value, with more low quality, drought tolerant species dominating during such dry spells. In addition, the potential for livestock disease outbreaks also increases, FAO said.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

UC Berkeley-spawned Amyris shares collapse


The decline and fall of Amyris share prices, via NASDAQ.

The decline and fall of Amyris share prices, via NASDAQ.

Amyris Inc. [previously], the company started by UC Berkeley “bioengineer” Jay Keasling to create affordable fuels from using technology created to genetically engineer yeast to produce the most widely used antimalarial drug, hit an all-time low of forty-one cents per share today, down from the post-IPO high of $33.85.

Part of the reason is contained in a 20 June filing lodged by the company with the Security and Exchange Commission:

On June 14, 2016, Amyris, Inc. (the “Company”) received a letter from The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”) notifying the Company that it is not in compliance with the requirement of NASDAQ Listing Rule 5450(a)(1) for continued listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as a result of the closing bid price of the Company’s common stock being below $1.00 for 30 consecutive business days. This notification has no effect on the listing of the Company’s common stock at this time.

In accordance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5810(c)(3)(A), the Company has 180 calendar days, or until December 12, 2016, to regain compliance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5450(a)(1). To regain compliance, the closing bid price of the Company’s common stock must be at least $1.00 for a minimum of 10 consecutive business. If the Company does not regain compliance during such period, it may be eligible for an additional compliance period of 180 calendar days, provided that the Company meets NASDAQ’s continued listing requirement for market value of publicly held shares and all other initial listing standards for the NASDAQ Capital Market, other than the minimum bid price requirement, and provides written notice to NASDAQ of its intention to cure the deficiency during the second compliance period. If the Company does not regain compliance during the initial compliance period and is not eligible for an additional compliance period, NASDAQ will provide notice that the Company’s common stock will be subject to delisting from the NASDAQ Capital Market. In that event, the Company may appeal such determination to a hearings panel.

The Company is currently evaluating its available options to resolve the deficiency and regain compliance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5450(a)(1).

In other words, Amyris is now officially what’s called a “penny stock,” and stock valued at under a buck and restricted to trade on minor markets.

And while Amyris has promised and failed to deliver on its cheap fuel promises and shifted its development aims to tweaking its yeast to produce genetically engineered cosmetic chemicals, Bill Gates, an original investor from the company’s earliest days, gave Amyris $5 million in April to help cut costs on production of the drug for which he originally bankrolled Keasling and his students.

The drug is produced in Europe and Amyris realizes no profits from its sale.

But now comes more bad news and a possible reason for the continuing decline of the price of Amyris shares.

From the University of British Columbia:

The rapid decline in effectiveness of a widely used anti-malaria drug treatment on the Thailand-Myanmar border is linked to the increasing prevalence of specific mutations in the malaria parasite itself, according to a paper published in The Clinical infectious Disease Journal.

The mutations in specific regions of the parasite’s kelch gene – which are genetic markers of artemisinin resistance – were the decisive factor, the authors say, in the selection of parasites that are also resistant to mefloquine. This resulted in growing failure of the widely-used anti-malaria drug combination of mefloquine and artesunate, the first artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Led by Dr. Aung Pyae Phyo of SMRU, the study used data from a 10-year study of 1,005 patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria at Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) clinics on the Thai-Myanmar border in northwest Thailand.

“This study demonstrates for the first time that artemisinin resistance leads to failure of the artemisinin partner drug, in this case, mefloquine. This means that the first line artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) introduced here in 1994 has finally fallen to resistance,” says François Nosten, Director of SMRU.

Resistance to artemisinin combination therapy drugs (ACTs) – the frontline treatments against malaria infection – poses a serious threat to the global control and eradication of malaria. If drug resistance spreads from Asia to the African sub-continent, or emerges in Africa independently, as has happened several times before, millions of lives, most of them children under the age of 5 in Africa, will be at risk.

The study shows that, contrary to the view sometimes expressed that resistance to artemisinin is not a direct threat, it is in fact responsible for the rapid demise of the partner drug and the failure of the drug combination, resulting in patients not being cured and further transmission of the malaria parasite.

“The evidence is clear: Artemisinin resistance leads to partner drug resistance and thereby the failure of artemisinin combination treatments,” said Oxford Professor Nicholas White, Chairman of the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) and chair of the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN).

From the paper, a graph describes the rise of artemisinin-resistant genetic variants.

From the paper, a graph describes the rise of artemisinin-resistant genetic variants.

Given the very limited number of effective drugs, it is urgent to eliminate P. falciparum from the areas where it has developed resistance to the artemisinins, said Prof. White: “The spread of artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum is perhaps the greatest threat to our current hopes of eliminating malaria from the world.”

A unit of the Bangkok-based MORU, SMRU is based in the refugee camps and migrant communities along the Thai-Myanmar border. Led by researchers based at SMRU (Thailand), the study was funded with the support of the Wellcome Trust (UK).

Reference:

Pyae Phyo A et al, Declining efficacy of artemisinin combination therapy against P. falciparum malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border (2003-2013): the role of parasite genetic factors [open access], Clinical Infectious Diseases, published online 16 June 2016.

The San Andreas Fault makes some major moves


Uplift [red] and subsidence [blue] around the San Andreas Fault System based on GPS data [top] confirms motion predicted by previous models [bottom]. From the University of Hawai’i at Mano.

Uplift [red] and subsidence [blue] around the San Andreas Fault System based on GPS data [top] confirms motion predicted by previous models [bottom]. From the University of Hawai’i at Mano.

From the University of Hawai’i at Mano.

An array of GPS instruments near the San Andreas Fault System in Southern California detects constant motion of Earth’s crust—sometimes large, sudden motion during an earthquake and often subtle, creeping motion. By carefully analyzing the data recorded by the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory’s GPS array researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, University of Washington and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) discovered nearly 125 mile-wide “lobes” of uplift and subsidence—a few millimeters of motion each year—straddling the fault system. This large scale motion was previously predicted in models but until now had not been documented.

The GPS array records vertical and horizontal motion of Earth’s surface. Vertical motion is affected by many factors including tectonic motion of the crust, pumping of groundwater, local surface geology, and precipitation. The challenge faced by Samuel Howell, doctoral candidate at the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and lead author of the study, and co-authors was to discern the broad, regional tectonic motion from the shorter-scale, local motion.

New assessment revealed the pattern

To tease out such motions, the team used a comprehensive statistical technique to extract from the GPS data a pattern of large-scale, smoothly varying vertical motions of the local crust.

“While the San Andreas GPS data has been publicly available for more than a decade, the vertical component of the measurements had largely been ignored in tectonic investigations because of difficulties in interpreting the noisy data,” said Howell. “Using this technique, we were able to break down the noisy signals to isolate a simple vertical motion pattern that curiously straddled the San Andreas fault.”

This is an aerial view of the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, 8,500 ft. altitude. From the University of Hawai’i at Mano.

An aerial view of the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, 8,500 ft. altitude. From the University of Hawai’i at Mano.

Confirmation of predicted motion

The pattern resulting from their data analysis was similar in magnitude and direction to motions predicted by previously published earthquake cycle model results led by co-authors Bridget Smith-Konter, associate professor at SOEST, and David Sandwell, professor at SIO.

“We were surprised and thrilled when this statistical method produced a coherent velocity field similar to the one predicted by our physical earthquake cycle models,” said Smith-Konter. “The powerful combination of a priori model predictions and a unique analysis of vertical GPS data led us to confirm that the buildup of century-long earthquake cycle forces within the crust are a dominant source of the observed vertical motion signal.”

Improving hazard predictions

The new findings, published on June 20 in Nature Geoscience, [$32 to read — esnl] indicate that researchers can use GPS vertical motion measurements to better understand the structure and behavior of faults, even in times of earthquake quiescence, when no major ruptures have occurred for several decades to centuries. As scientists patiently monitor the San Andreas Fault System for indications of the next big earthquake, these results will help constrain seismic hazard estimates and may allow for a more prudent mapping of the large-scale motion resulting from the next significant rupture of the San Andreas.

Charting the dramatic loss of ice in the Antarctic


BLOG Ice

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

Along the Bellingshausen Sea coast of West Antarctica, ice has been retreating inland being lost to the sea. Scientists knew this, but they lacked a full picture of the scale. Now a team of researchers has compiled a Landsat-based data set and found that such losses have been going on for at least the past four decades and along the vast majority of this coast.

“We knew that ice had been retreating from this region recently,” said Frazer Christie, a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh and a co-author of the study. “Now, thanks to a wealth of freely available satellite data, we know this has been occurring pervasively along the coastline for almost half a century.”

The Bellingshausen Sea—named for the Russian Admiral who found the continent in 1820—lies to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula. Examining Landsat data collected between 1975 and 2015, the researchers mapped the approximate locations of “grounding lines” in the ice along the Bellingshausen coast. These lines mark the intersection where glacial ice flowing from the continent is connected, or grounded, to the seafloor. Any ice past the grounding line usually floats on the sea as an ice shelf. When ice is lost to the sea, the grounding line retreats. Meanwhile, the ice loss contributes to global sea level rise.

Christie and colleagues used Landsat data to locate “inflection points” on the surface of the ice that indicate the approximate location of grounding lines below. An inflection point—which can be tricky to detect by an untrained eye—is defined as the last location where the slope of the ice dramatically changes before flattening out into an ice shelf or meeting the sea.

The team combined its Landsat projections of inflection points with radar data from the European Space Agency’s ERS 1 and 2 and CryoSat-2 satellites. They found that the majority of the coastline along the Bellinghausen Sea experienced some grounding line retreat over the past four decades. The findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

The widespread retreat has likely been caused by warmer ocean water licking at the undersides of the floating ice near the grounding line—or as the authors write: “an ingress of relatively warm circumpolar deep water.”

The images above show an area near Eltanin Bay, where the majority of the grounding line is found at the seaward front of the ice. The top image was acquired by the Multispectral Scanner on Landsat 2 on February 18, 1975; the second image was acquired by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 on March 2, 2015. Turn on the image comparison tool to see the scale of the retreat in this area. The ice loss is most pronounced along the Ferrigno Ice Stream, which was named for Jane Ferrigno, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist who used satellite data (including Landsat) to map Antarctica.

“Our study provides important context for understanding the causes of ice retreat throughout Antarctica as a whole,” said Christie. “We now know West Antarctica has been changing for many decades, so the next challenge is to ascertain the key ice, ocean, and atmospheric factors responsible for such ice losses.”

The Vaquita, threatened by distant appetites


Marine biologist Barbara Taylor of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla is passionate about saving the world’s endangered cetaceans, and her focus in recent years has been on the Vaquita, a recently discovered porpoise in the Sea of Cortez now facing imminent extinction.

Taylor’s passion for saving the rare mammal extends beyond the laboratory and field research to the other passion of her life, art [she has her own gallery where you can purchase her graphics and jewellery featuring the Vaquita]. Here’s one example:

BLOG Taylor

What’s driving the extinction of the Vaquita is the same thing driving the extinctions of so many other endangered creatures: Chinese hunger for the organs of rare animals alleged to possess magical powers, most frequently, as with the horn of the rhinoceros and the penis of the tiger, those alleged to restore virility to aging Asian wangs.

But it’s not lust for the Vaquita that’s driving its extinction; rather it’s the hunger for part of another, similarly sized inhabitant of those same waters, with the Vaquita die-off only a matter of collateral damage.

From Newsweek:

A small fiberglass boat rocks on the surface of the water a few hundred yards from shore about 100 miles down Baja California from the U.S.-Mexico border. Two men in yellow slickers and rubber boots stand in the boat, pulling a loosely woven net from the water with their hands. Tangled in the gillnet are four dull silver fish about 5 feet long, each weighing more than 100 pounds. Known as totoaba, these fish live only in the upper Gulf of California and are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Mexico and the U.S. Since 1976, their trade has been prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora since 1976.

And yet the fishermen cut open each fish, remove the swim bladder—a gas-filled organ that helps the fish control its depth—and toss the rest overboard. They may harvest 100 totoaba bladders tonight and earn anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on current market prices.

Buyers dry these bladders and ship them to markets in Hong Kong, where the price for the flat, yellowish, dinner-plate-sized organs sometimes goes as high as six figures. The Chinese buy them as gifts to cement business relationships, for use in traditional banquet dishes or to eat for their supposed medicinal and nutritional benefits. Totoaba bladders are a substitute for those of the giant yellow croaker (aka Chinese bahaba), which was fished nearly to extinction decades ago.

The imminent loss of the Vaquita has drawn the attention of wildlife conservation organizations, including one formed specifically to save the small cetacean.

VivaVaquita.org is a seven-year-old collaboration on the part of activists from several nonprofits, including the Cetos Research Organization, Save The Whales, the Monterey Bay chapter of the American Cetacean Society, ACS National, the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society, the Muskwa Club, and V-Log.

From Viva Vaquita’s Thomas A. Jefferson:

Clearly, despite the tremendous efforts of Sea Shepherd, and the dedication of Mexican authorities, illegal gillnetting continues to thrive in the upper Gulf.  The fishermen appear to have learned how to fish in secret, by operating mostly at night, and this makes ones wonder if this was going on even when so many eyes were on the gulf last autumn (eyes are not good at seeing in the dark!).  Enforcement efforts to date have not been nearly enough to stop the slaughter…

The good news is that Mexico recently announced that it will be stepping up patrols, including some night-time enforcement.  This is certainly an improvement, but one must wonder whether these increases can overcome the tremendous economic incentive that the Chinese markets are providing to encourage illegal gillnet fishing for totoaba.  We can only hope so, and we must continue our efforts to bring the vaquita’s plight to the world before it is too late.

Remember, Saturday 9 July is this year’s International Save the Vaquita Day.  We plan to have more venues than ever, with the addition of some new locations, and also the addition of new attractions, such as live music this year!  Mark your calendar, and tell all your friends about it.  Also, keep your eyes open for an upcoming story about the vaquita on CBS’s 60 Minutes!  And the new abundance estimate for the vaquita is in the works and should be released some time this spring.  I am sure we all hope that the numbers are not as low as we fear they might be.

This is shaping up to be the “make or break” year for the vaquita.  If rampant illegal gillnetting is not completely stopped very soon, it is likely that the species will reach a point of no return in the next 12 months or so.

Also calling for immediate action is the World Wildlife Federation:

Mexican authorities must immediately and indefinitely close all fisheries within the habitat of Mexico’s critically endangered vaquita porpoise – or we will lose the species forever.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, referring to data from the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), said on Friday that only around 60 vaquitas remained in the upper Gulf of California — the only place the species exists — as of December 2015. This is a nearly 40 per cent decline from the 97 vaquitas that remained in 2014.

“We can still save the vaquita, but this is our last chance,” said Omar Vidal, CEO of WWF-Mexico. “The Mexican government must ban all fishing within the vaquita’s habitat now and until the species shows signs of recovery. Anything else is just wishful thinking.”

So what is the Vaquita? And what are its prospects? And why should we care?

For answers, a video featuring Barbara Taylor from University of California Television:

Net Loss: New Abundance Estimate Reveals That Mexico’s Vaquita Faces Imminent Extinction


Program notes:

Barbara Taylor of the National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Fisheries Science Center, who participated in the last effort to save the recently extinct Chinese River Dolphin, or Baiji, gives a detailed chronicle of her involvement in documenting the decline of earth’s most endangered marine mammal, the Vaquita, found only in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Their primary threat is death in gillnets, which until very recently supplied shrimp to the U.S. market. The catastrophic 80% decline since 2011 results from illegal sales of endangered totoaba swim bladders to China.

Map of the day: Mother Earth emits greenhouse gas


Northern U.S. Atlantic Margin map, showing major canyons that cut through the continental shelf. Boxes highlight the locations of Baltimore Canyon and Norfolk methane seep fields on the US Atlantic margin. These sites are the focus of a just-published 2016 study highlighting methane sources and the age of methane emissions. The yellow, red, and green circles denote methane seeps discovered earlier on the US Atlantic margin.

Northern U.S. Atlantic Margin map, showing major canyons that cut through the continental shelf. Boxes highlight the locations of Baltimore Canyon and Norfolk methane seep fields on the US Atlantic margin. These sites are the focus of a just-published 2016 study highlighting methane sources and the age of methane emissions. The yellow, red, and green circles denote methane seeps discovered earlier on the US Atlantic margin.

We’ve posted about the dangers posed by environmentally released methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and particularly about emissions increases in the Arctic as melting tundra release large volumes of the gas.

But now there’s another major source for releases, albeit one that’s not accelerated by rising temperatures.

From the U.S. Geological Survey:

Recent scientific work has confirmed the source, composition and origin of methane seeps on the Atlantic Ocean seafloor, discovered in 2012, where scientists never expected them to be.

For the first time, scientists have determined the origin of the gas, its method of formation, the longevity of the seeps, and the source of the venting fluids. The methane seeps represent a new source of global methane not previously accounted for in carbon budgets from this region.

Hundreds of methane seeps along the Atlantic seafloor were remotely imaged through camera and mapping work, but uncertainty remained as to the origin and history of the seepage. In a new study published this week, U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their collaborators, including the British Geological Survey, describe the chemistry of the methane seeps by analyzing seafloor carbonate rocks, and deep-sea mussels that were collected aboard a ship by remotely operated vehicles.

When initially discovered, the scientists were able only to photograph and map the seeps as places on the seafloor where gasses were bubbling up. Now with chemical analyses, scientists have confirmed that the bubbling gas is indeed methane, and have confirmed the methane originates from the microbial decomposition of organic matter in the seafloor sediment. Hidden in the unique isotopic signature of the carbonate rocks of the seafloor is a robust chemical fingerprint revealing the origin and age of the methane seeps. These results provide the detailed insights into the chemical conditions under which the carbonate rock of the seafloor was formed.

Methane gas bubbles rise from the seafloor – this type of activity, originally noticed by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2012 on a multibeam sonar survey, is what led scientists to the area.

Methane gas bubbles rise from the seafloor – this type of activity, originally noticed by NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2012 on a multibeam sonar survey, is what led scientists to the area.

Carbonate rocks, such as limestone or dolomite, can form at the sediment-water interface near the seafloor, where they are found today. The same chemical (isotopic) analyses confirmed that the seeping methane did not originate from a deep-seated reservoir in the sediments similar to the reservoirs found in major hydrocarbon basins such as the Gulf of Mexico.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading