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Sensitivity of polar and temperate marine organisms to oil components
de Hoop, L.; Schipper, A.M.; Leuven, R.S.E.W.; Huijbregts, M.A.J.; Olsen, G.H.; Smit, M.G.D.; Hendriks, A.J. (2011). Sensitivity of polar and temperate marine organisms to oil components. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45(20): 9017-9023.
In: Environmental Science and Technology. American Chemical Society: Easton. ISSN 0013-936X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • de Hoop, L.
  • Schipper, A.M.
  • Leuven, R.S.E.W.
  • Huijbregts, M.A.J.
  • Olsen, G.H.
  • Smit, M.G.D.
  • Hendriks, A.J.

    Potential contamination of polar regions due to increasing oil exploitation and transportation poses risks to marine species. Risk assessments for polar marine species or ecosystems are mostly based on toxicity data obtained for temperate species. Yet, it is unclear whether toxicity data of temperate organisms are representative for polar species and ecosystems. The present study compared sensitivities of polar and temperate marine species to crude oil, 2-methyl-naphthalene, and naphthalene. Species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) were constructed for polar and temperate species based on acute toxicity data from scientific literature, reports, and databases. Overall, there was a maximum factor of 3 difference in sensitivity to oil and oil components, based on the means of the toxicity data and the hazardous concentrations for 5 and 50% of the species (HC5 and HC50) as derived from the SSDs. Except for chordates and naphthalene, polar and temperate species sensitivities did not differ significantly. The results are interpreted in the light of physiological characteristics, such as metabolism, lipid fraction, lipid composition, antioxidant levels, and resistance to freezing, that have been suggested to influence the susceptibility of marine species to oil. As a consequence, acute toxicity data obtained for temperate organisms may serve to obtain a first indication of risks in polar regions.

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