New York Times | March 7, 2016 | Erik Olsen
EUREKA OIL PLATFORM OFF CALIFORNIA COAST - Eight miles off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., the oil rig Eureka, which has stood here for 40 years, is a study in contrasts. From a distance, it looks like just another offshore platform, an artifact of the modern industrial landscape.
But beneath the waves, the Eureka and other rigs like it in the area are home to a vast and thriving community of sea life that some scientists say is one of the richest marine ecosystems on the planet.
"They are more productive than coral reefs, more productive than estuaries," said Milton Love, a professor of marine biology at the University of California Santa Barbara. "It just turns out by chance that platforms have a lot of animals that are growing really quickly."
Dr. Love, who has published research on marine life at offshore drilling sites, said the location of these rigs - in marine-protected areas in a cold current that swoops down from British Columbia - have made them perfect habitats for fish and other sea life.
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