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Phytoplankton Responses to Crude Oil and Chemical Dispersant Exposure in Laboratory Culture: Implications for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

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Date Issued:
2018-05-25
Abstract/Description:
Gulf of Mexico fisheries, accounting for 20% of the total United States Fisheries value, are supported by high phytoplankton productivity. Any disruption to phytoplankton productivity could result in a deleterious trophic cascade effect, crippling these important fisheries. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been such a disruption. The aim of this study was to assess phytoplankton responses to crude oil and chemical dispersant exposure in a laboratory setting. Phytoplankton cultures were exposed to the water accommodated fraction (WAF) of Louisiana Sweet Crude oil (LSC) and the chemical dispersant Corexit EC9500A at high and low concentrations under different salinity and temperature regimes in order to determine phytoplankton responses to these toxicants. Culture health was determined by chlorophyll concentration, cell counts, and photochemical efficiency (PE). Overall, phytoplankton were unaffected by oil WAFs but showed significant reduction in chlorophyll content, cell counts, and PE when exposed to dispersant-only solutions and Chemically-Enhanced Water Accommodated Fraction solutions of oil & dispersant (CEWAFs). Furthermore, low temperatures and salinities increased the toxicity of the oil & dispersant CEWAFs. These results suggest that phytoplankton assemblages may have been impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, possibly reverberating into higher trophic levels that could have impacted Gulf of Mexico fisheries.
Title: Phytoplankton Responses to Crude Oil and Chemical Dispersant Exposure in Laboratory Culture: Implications for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
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Name(s): Tyre, Kevin, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Thesis
Issuance: single unit
Date Issued: 2018-05-25
Physical Form: PDF
Extent: 123 pgs.
Language(s): English
eng
Abstract/Description: Gulf of Mexico fisheries, accounting for 20% of the total United States Fisheries value, are supported by high phytoplankton productivity. Any disruption to phytoplankton productivity could result in a deleterious trophic cascade effect, crippling these important fisheries. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have been such a disruption. The aim of this study was to assess phytoplankton responses to crude oil and chemical dispersant exposure in a laboratory setting. Phytoplankton cultures were exposed to the water accommodated fraction (WAF) of Louisiana Sweet Crude oil (LSC) and the chemical dispersant Corexit EC9500A at high and low concentrations under different salinity and temperature regimes in order to determine phytoplankton responses to these toxicants. Culture health was determined by chlorophyll concentration, cell counts, and photochemical efficiency (PE). Overall, phytoplankton were unaffected by oil WAFs but showed significant reduction in chlorophyll content, cell counts, and PE when exposed to dispersant-only solutions and Chemically-Enhanced Water Accommodated Fraction solutions of oil & dispersant (CEWAFs). Furthermore, low temperatures and salinities increased the toxicity of the oil & dispersant CEWAFs. These results suggest that phytoplankton assemblages may have been impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, possibly reverberating into higher trophic levels that could have impacted Gulf of Mexico fisheries.
Identifier: fgcu_ETD_0242 (IID)
Note(s): Degree Awarded: Master of Science
Subject(s): Deepwater Horizon
Environmental
Macondo.
Oil Spill
Phytoplankton
Pollution
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fgcu/fd/fgcu_ETD_0242
Use and Reproduction: Creator holds copyright.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FGCU