Photo-induced toxicity in early life stage fiddler crab (Uca longisignalis) following exposure to Deepwater Horizon oil
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The 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil rig led to the release of millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil in aquatic ecosystems exerts toxicity through multiple mechanisms, including photo-induced toxicity following co-exposure with UV radiation. The timing and location of the spill coincided with both fiddler crab reproduction and peak yearly UV intensities, putting early life stage fiddler crabs at risk of injury due to photo-induced toxicity. The present study assessed sensitivity of fiddler crab larvae to photo-induced toxicity during co-exposure to a range of environmentally relevant dilutions of high-energy water accommodated fractions of DWH oil, and either <10, 50, or 100% ambient sunlight, achieved with filters that allowed for variable UV penetration. Solar exposures (duration: 7-h per day) were conducted for two consecutive days, with a dark recovery period (duration: 17-h) in between. Survival was significantly decreased in treatments the presence of >10% UV and relatively low concentrations of oil. Results of the present study indicate fiddler crab larvae are sensitive to photo-induced toxicity in the presence of DWH oil. These results are of concern, as fiddler crabs play an important role as ecosystem engineers, modulating sediment biogeochemical processes via burrowing action. Furthermore, they occupy an important place in the food web in the Gulf of Mexico.
KeywordsPolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon Fiddler crab Deepwater Horizon Photo-induced toxicity
This study was conducted within the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) investigation, which was cooperatively conducted by NOAA and other Federal and State Trustees. The scientific results and conclusion of this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the view of NOAA or any other natural resource Trustee for the BP/Deepwater Horizon NRDA.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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