Coral communities as indicators of ecosystem-level impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill

BioScience
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

The Macondo oil spill released massive quantities of oil and gas from a depth of 1500 meters. Although a buoyant plume carried released hydrocarbons to the sea surface, as much as half stayed in the water column and much of that in the deep sea. After the hydrocarbons reached the surface, weathering processes, burning, and the use of a dispersant caused hydrocarbon-rich marine snow to sink into the deep sea. As a result, this spill had a greater potential to affect deep-sea communities than had any previous spill. Here, we review the literature on impacts on deep-sea communities from the Macondo blowout and provide additional data on sediment hydrocarbon loads and the impacts on sediment infauna in areas with coral communities around the Macondo well. We review the literature on the genetic connectivity of deep-sea species in the Gulf of Mexico and discuss the potential for wider effects on deep Gulf coral communities.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Coral communities as indicators of ecosystem-level impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill
Series title BioScience
DOI 10.1093/biosci/biu129
Volume 64
Issue 9
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Institute of Biological Sciences
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 12 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title BioScience
First page 796
Last page 807
Other Geospatial Gulf Of Mexico