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Sensitivity of US Gulf of Mexico coastal marsh vegetation to crude oil: comparison of greenhouse and field responses
DeLaune, R.D.; Pezeshki, S.R.; Jugsujinda, A.; Lindau, C.W. (2003). Sensitivity of US Gulf of Mexico coastal marsh vegetation to crude oil: comparison of greenhouse and field responses. Aquat. Ecol. 37(4): 351-360
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Coastal zone; Crude oil; Marshes; Oil spills; Pollution effects; Recovery; Riparian vegetation; Toxicity tolerance; Panicum hemitomon; Sagittaria lancifolia; Scirpus olneyi; Spartina alterniflora [WoRMS]; Spartina patens (Aiton) Muhl. [WoRMS]; Typha latifolia; ASW, USA, Gulf Coast [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • DeLaune, R.D.
  • Pezeshki, S.R., correspondent
  • Jugsujinda, A.
  • Lindau, C.W.

Abstract
    Greenhouse and field studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of crude oil on selected US Gulf of Mexico coastal marsh species. Species showed different levels of sensitivity to oiling between greenhouse and field conditions. In greenhouse studies, two crude oils were used: South Louisiana crude oil (SLC) and Arabian Medium crude oil (AMC). The majority of Spartina patens plants died within one month following oiling with little or no recovery after three months. Panicum hemitomon and Spartina alterniflora were also adversely affected by oiling under greenhouse conditions but to a lesser extent than S. patens. The SLC or AMC oiling led to biomass reductions in S. alterniflora and S. patens. The dry biomass was not affected by oiling in P. hemitomon, Sagittaria lancifolia, Typha latifolia, and Scirpus olneyi. Results showed that S. patens plants were more sensitive to SLC as compared to AMC oil. Gross CO2-C fixation data collected in the greenhouse indicated no differences in recovery among species across oiling treatments for S. lancifolia, S. olneyi, and T. Latifolia. Field studies with S. alterniflora, S. patens and S. lancifolia demonstrated initial sensitivity of these species to oiling, and recovery following oiling with SLC. Our data also showed that caution must be employed whenever results from greenhouse studies are extrapolated to predict oil impact on vegetation under field conditions. Development of any sensitivity index of plant responses to oiling should not be based on greenhouse experiments only. Field evaluations should be included which best depict plant responses to oiling. Thus, restoration measures of US Gulf of Mexico coastal marshes following oiling should rely primarily on field studies. The field research suggests that the US Gulf of Mexico coastal marsh vegetation are likely to recover from oil spills naturally without the need for remediation procedures.

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