The study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, or NSF, and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative is being published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS. Their study shows that, despite very low to non-detectable concentrations of oil constituents in the water and in fish tissues, biological effects in fish indicate dramatic responses that are indicative of exposures to the toxic components of oil.
That is, the biological responses of the fish were much more sensitive indicators of exposures and effects from the contaminating oil than the environmental chemistry was.
"Though the fish may be 'safe to eat' based on low chemical burdens in their tissues, that doesn't mean that the fish are healthy or that the fish are capable of reproducing normally," said Whitehead.
Genome expression responses detected in liver tissues were predictive of the types of responses associated with developmental abnormalities and death observed in previous studies by Galvez and Whitehead. Furthermore, responses were predictive of impairment of fish reproduction, meaning that the probability of impact on populations is significant.
Additionally, gill tissues, which are important for maintaining critical body functions, appeared damaged and had altered protein expression coincident with oil exposure, and these effects persisted for long after the visible oil disappeared from the marsh surface. Controlled exposures in laboratory settings of developing embryos to field-collected waters induced similar cellular responses.
"This is of concern because early life-stages of many organisms are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects of oil and because marsh contamination occurred during the spawning season of many important species," Whitehead.
A major take-home message of the more than two decades of research following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was that sub-lethal biological effects, especially those associated with reproduction, were most predictive of the long-term population-level impacts still apparent in many species such as herring and salmon. The current LSU study shows that early signals of similar kinds of sub-lethal effects are starting to emerge in an ecologically-important species following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The LSU research group is currently following up with studies examining more direct effects of oil exposure on reproduction, development and growth.
Ashley Berthelot | EurekAlert!
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine