Anatomy of an oil spill : long-term effects from the grounding of the barge Florida off West Falmouth, Massachusetts

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Sanders, Howard L.
Grassle, J. Frederick
Hampson, George R.
Morse, Linda S.
Garner-Price, Susan
Jones, Carol C.
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To determine carefully the effects on the marine and estuarine benthos of Number 2 fuel oil spilled by the barge FLORIDA off West Falmouth, Massachusetts, we sampled for many months along an onshore-offshore gradient of pollution, and less intensively at unoiled sites. Analyses of hydrocarbons established that pollution was greatest and most persistent in the intertidal and subtidal zones of Wild Harbor River, less severe in degree and duration at stations farthest from shore. A variety of concurrent analyses showed that disturbance of the fauna was most severe and longest lasting at the most heavily oiled sites, and least severe but perceptible at lightly oiled stations. Patterns of disturbance were not related to granulometry of the sediments. Plants, ctustaceans, fish, and birds suffered both high mortality immediately after the spill, and physiological and behavioral abnormalities directly related to high concentrations of the fuel oil. Five years after the spill its effects on the biota were still detectable, and partly degraded #2 fuel oil was still present in the sediments in Wild Harbor River and estuary.
Author Posting. © Yale University, 1980. This article is posted here by permission of Yale University for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Marine Research 38 (1980): 265-380.
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Journal of Marine Research 38 (1980): 265-380
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