Salt marshes support commercially and culturally important species and are often subject to natural and human-caused stressors. Gaps in our knowledge of salt marsh food webs made management and restoration decisions difficult after the Deepwater Horizon spill. Jessica Johnson helps fill this gap.
Scientists constructed a food web model using data from published studies and their field experiences to understand how specific Louisiana salt marsh organisms influenced ecosystem response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The researchers found that carnivorous fishes were “critically resilient” and likely enhanced food web resilience.
Scientists analyzed weathered and fresh Macondo oil to learn about oil products resulting from microbial degradation and photochemical reactions. They observed that 48 months after the Deepwater Horizon spill, less than 1 percent of oil remained in marsh sediments collected from heavily-impacted sites; however, it was still 400 times greater than sites with moderate-to-no observed oiling.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was not only the largest ecological disaster in the U.S., but it has become the most scientifically researched oil spill. Six years since the disaster, researchers from various fields have gathered data on the environmental, economic and health impacts.
Living inside the roots and leaf tissues of marsh grass are bacteria and fungi known as endophytes that help promote plant growth. Since some endophytes can also help degrade petroleum that the plants absorb, it is possible they could be a natural tool to help clean up oil buried in marsh soils.
Scientists conducted a meta-analysis of Gulf of Mexico fiddler crab data across multiple years, sites, and studies to examine if the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacted the crabs’ size, abundance, and population composition.
Scientists studied the relationship between the resiliency of Louisiana salt marsh plants, invertebrates, and microbes in heavily-oiled sediment after the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Researchers have known that pollutant exposure alters the ability of ecological systems to degrade those pollutants upon encountering them again.
Biologists studying the impacts of oil on marine species living in coastal Alabama salt marshes published their results in the March 2013 edition of the Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE)