Gulf Still Choked With 79% of Oil: New Studies Optimistic fed report missed plumes on sea floor By Jane Yager, Newser Staff Posted Aug 17, 2010 7:40 AM CDT 22 comments Comments The Bay Joe Wise shoreline, an island that has grown by 600 acres after crews filled in areas of open water, is seen on the Gulf of Mexico, at left, on the coast of Louisiana, Aug. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Newser) – A recent federal report that only 26% of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill remains in the Gulf was far too optimistic, two new reports claim. University of Georgia researchers who've been assessing the Gulf said yesterday that in fact up to 79% of the oil and its toxic byproducts are still deep in Gulf waters, the Wall Street Journal reports. Meanwhile, a University of South Florida study to be released today has found the oil is traveling east along the sea floor. The Florida researchers found that "the dispersant is moving the oil down out of the surface and into the deeper waters, where it can affect phytoplankton and other marine life," a microbiologist told CNN. Much of the oil has gathered in an undersea canyon 40 miles off the Florida panhandle.