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Long-term monitoring program: Evaluating chronic exposure of harlequin ducks and sea otters to lingering Exxon Valdez Oil in Western Prince William Sound

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Abstract

We found that average cytochrome P4501A induction (as measured by EROD activity) during March 2014 was not elevated in wintering harlequin ducks captured in areas of Prince William Sound oiled by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, relative to those captured in unoiled areas. This result is consistent with findings from March 2013. We interpret these findings to indicate that exposure of harlequin ducks to residual Exxon Valdez oil abated within 24 years after the original spill. Results from preceding sampling in 2011 indicated that EROD activity was elevated in harlequin ducks in oiled relative to unoiled areas, although the magnitude of elevation was lower than in previous years (1998-2009), suggesting that the rate or intensity of exposure was diminishing by 2011. The data presented in this report add to a growing body of literature indicating that persistence of oil in the environment, and exposure of wildlife to that oil, can occur over much longer time frames than previously assumed.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title Long-term monitoring program: Evaluating chronic exposure of harlequin ducks and sea otters to lingering Exxon Valdez Oil in Western Prince William Sound
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council
Publisher location Anchorage, AK
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology MFEB
Description 46 p.
Country United States
State Alaska