(CNN) The site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has become a popular mating ground for deep-sea crabs and shrimp.
Decomposing oil from the 2010 spill could be mimicking a sex hormone, and that's what's attracting these crustaceans to get frisky in this part of the Gulf, according to an August study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
Three types of crustaceans showed up in big numbers: the red deep-sea crab and species of red shrimp and white shrimp.
People don't fish commercially for these species of crabs and shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, so there's little risk to humans, McClain said.
"Near the wreckage and wellhead, many of the animals characteristic of other areas of the deep Gulf of Mexico, including sea cucumbers, giant isopods, glass sponges and whip corals, were absent," McClain said.
"We know little about the deep sea, so when these kinds of human impacts, occur we don't have the knowledge we need to make informed decisions about recovery," McClain said.
"We can't allow this heavily impacted disaster site to slip from our collective memory and further study is needed to shed light on the long-term impacts that oil spills have on fragile deep-sea ecosystems," he said.