Devika Bhalerao uses DNA analyses to identify organisms important to the larvae’s survival and determine if oiling alters the presence of various organisms in the food web. Her findings will help develop analytical tools that ecologists can use to evaluate the health of tidal marshes.
Researchers conducted laboratory experiments to assess the lethal and sublethal impacts of weathered and non-weathered crude oil exposure on red drum larvae. The scientists observed a 70% reduction in cardiac output in oil-exposed larvae, even at low oil concentrations.
No one yet knows how the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is impacting biological development in larvae and fish.