A new scientific study claims oil-eating microbes have drastically reduced the amount of oil from the BP well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Researchers at California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory say the microbes appear to have multiplied in number and increased their metabolic capacity to eat up much of the oil that spilled into the Gulf. The findings contradict several recent studies showing much of the oil remains in the Gulf and continues to threaten its ecosystem. But they would bolster the Obama administration’s controversial assertions that much of the oil has in fact disappeared. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has extensive ties to both BP and the US government. In 2007, the lab received the bulk of a controversial $500 million science grant from BP. The Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s director at the time, Steven Chu, now heads the Department of Energy, which also partially funds the lab.