Effects of a crude oil spill on the benthic invertebrate community in the Gasconade River, Missouri

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
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Abstract

Effects of a 3.3-million–L crude oil spill on the benthic macroinvertebrate community of the Gasconade River, a large river in Missouri, were evaluated by comparing several macroinvertebrate community indices in riffle and backwater habitats above and below the spill. Concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in sediments decreased dramatically in riffle habitats within 6 months of the spill, but elevated hydrocarbon levels (TPH = 80–270 μg/g) were still present in backwater habitats at the end of the study. Correspondingly, riffle macroinvertebrate communities recovered rapidly, but overall benthic diversity continued to be reduced in backwater areas until the end of the study 18 months after the spill. In addition, statistical analysis of benthic functional feeding groups revealed that both scrapers and shredders were reduced in backwater habitats below the oil spill. Decreased abundance of shredders and scrapers in these habitats is likely caused by oil contamination of aquatic sediments and associated organic matter required by these groups for food and substrate. Results of this study suggest that the persistence of oil in backwater habitats has a negative effect on the benthic community in large rivers.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Effects of a crude oil spill on the benthic invertebrate community in the Gasconade River, Missouri
Series title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
DOI 10.1007/s002449900253
Volume 33
Issue 3
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 9 p.
First page 268
Last page 276
Country United States
State Missouri
Other Geospatial Gasconade River