Pore water from coastal beach and marsh sediments from the northern Gulf of Mexico, pre- and post-landfall of the Deepwater Horizon oil release, were collected and evaluated for toxicity with the sea urchin fertilization and embryological development assays. There were 17 pre-landfall samples and 49 post-landfall samples tested using both assays. Toxicity was determined in four pre-landfall sites and in seven post-landfall sites in one or both assays as compared to a known reference sediment pore-water sample collected in Aransas Bay, Texas. Further analysis and testing of five of the post-landfall toxic samples utilizing Toxicity Identification Evaluation techniques indicated that ammonia, and to a lesser extent metals, contributed to most, if not all, of the observed toxicity in four of the five samples. Results of one sample (MS-39) indicated evidence that ammonia, metals, and non-ionic organics were contributing to the observed toxicity.
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Sediment pore-water toxicity test results and preliminary toxicity identification of post-landfall pore-water samples collected following the Deepwater Horizon oil release, Gulf of Mexico, 2010