Proper handling of animal tissues from the field to the laboratory supports reliable biomarker endpoints
In the endeavor to assess potential effects to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem from the Mississippi Canyon 252 incident, referred to as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, various environmental data have been collected. Whereas initial efforts have included satellite tracking and sediment and water sampling to estimate the geographical scope of oiling, research on biological samples can provide insights into potential physiological responses to oil if it was present in the food web, sediment, or water column. Fish species are ideal model organisms for studying responses to water- and sediment-borne contaminants due to their life history (Jenkins et al. 2014), and several Gulf of Mexico fish species were studied by scientists after this incident. Typical field data collected on fish reflect organism condition and include observations such as fish length, weight, gonad condition, condition factor (weight in relation to length), parasite load, and color of organs (Schmitt and Dethloff 2000). However, if physiological responses occurred due to oil exposure, effects would not be immediately visible using organism-level observations alone. Changes occur first at the organ, tissue, cell, or molecular levels, and these responses can be measured by using biomarker assays (van der Oost et al. 2003).
Additional publication details
|Publication type||Book chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Title||Proper handling of animal tissues from the field to the laboratory supports reliable biomarker endpoints|
|Contributing office(s)||Wetland and Aquatic Research Center|
|Larger Work Title||Impacts of oil spill disasters on marine habitats and fisheries in North America|