Seaside Sparrows live and forage in coastal Gulf of Mexico marshlands, some of which were oiled following the Deepwater Horizon incident. Sparrows in these oiled marshes likely ingested invertebrates that were also exposed to oil. Allison Snider uses DNA analyses to investigate potential long-term changes in the diets of Seaside Sparrows following Deepwater Horizon.
Scientists analyzed the carbon composition in Seaside Sparrow tissues to learn if oil from the 2010 spill was incorporated into the terrestrial food web. The researchers found reduced radiocarbon and stable carbon concentration levels in the feathers of birds captured at oiled sites compared with birds from non-oiled sites, which is consistent with a fossil oil source.
Seaside Sparrows live and forage in coastal marshlands across the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists are studying oil’s effects on their habitat and the potential long-term impacts on sparrow populations in these areas.
Birds, crickets, ants, and other insects that live in Louisiana wetlands are helping researchers determine impacts to marsh life from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.