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Quantifying long-term risks to sea otters from the 1989 'Exxon Valdez' oil spill: reply to Harwell & Gentile (2013)

Marine Ecology Progress Series

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.3354/meps10498

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Abstract

Recovery of sea otter populations in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska, has been delayed for more than 2 decades following the 1989 ‘Exxon Valdez’ oil spill. Harwell & Gentile (2013; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 488:291–296) question our conclusions in Bodkin et al. (2012; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 447:273-287) regarding adverse effects that oil lingering in the environment may have on sea otters. They agree that exposure may continue, but disagree that it constitutes a significant risk to sea otters. In Bodkin et al. (2012), we suggested that subtle effects of chronic exposure were the most reasonable explanation for delayed recovery of the sea otter population in areas of western PWS, where shorelines were most heavily oiled. Here, we provide additional information on the ecology of sea otters that clarifies why the toxicological effects of oral ingestion of oil do not reflect all effects of chronic exposure. The full range of energetic, behavioral, and toxicological concerns must be considered to appraise how chronic exposure to residual oil may constrain recovery of sea otter populations.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Quantifying long-term risks to sea otters from the 1989 'Exxon Valdez' oil spill: reply to Harwell & Gentile (2013)
Series title:
Marine Ecology Progress Series
DOI:
10.3354/meps10498
Volume
488
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
Inter-Research
Contributing office(s):
Alaska Science Center
Description:
5 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Marine Ecology Progress Series
First page:
297
Last page:
301
Number of Pages:
5
Country:
United States
State:
Alaska
Other Geospatial:
Prince William Sound