Marine ecosystems provide many valuable resources for humans, including seafood and petroleum. Conservation policies that protect marine ecosystems, especially pollution and petroleum-related policies, depend on accurate scientific data about the ways different marine species experience pollution.
Authorities closed large portions of the Gulf of Mexico following Deepwater Horizon to minimize oil contamination of fish and seafood products.
Many fish that were exposed to Deepwater Horizon oil survived; however, they may have experienced later-in-life impacts that affected their ability to survive longer than fish that did not experience oil exposure.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas are lending their expertise to this study, specifically looking at how oil impacts cardiac health in fish.
A Louisiana State University researcher conducted laboratory experiments to learn how estuarine fish behave around sediments containing varying concentrations of weathered and fresh oil. He observed that fish exhibited a stronger avoidance response to medium and high concentrations of fresh oil compared to low concentrations and observed no significant avoidance of any weathered oil concentrations.
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil well drilling platform exploded, spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill is considered to be one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.
The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative is pleased to announce a new informational brochure about the connection of Deepwater Horizon and fish lesions reported in the winter following the spill. The Sea Grant Oil Spill Outreach Team reviewed published science and worked with experts to develop this brochure for a broad range of audiences, particularly those who live and work across the Gulf Coast.
Researchers analyzed diet information for 474 unique fish species to quantify likely contributions of prey to predators’ diets for an improved marine food web matrix model.
Scientists used novel bioinformatics to investigate molecular-level changes over time and toxicity pathways in mahi-mahi embryos and larvae exposed to Deepwater Horizon oil. They observed that weathered oil induced more pronounced gene expression changes than a non-weathered source oil.
A team of marine scientists, led by representatives of the University of South Florida, are about midway through a six-week expedition looking for evidence left over from the two largest accidental oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.