Document Detail


Degradation and resilience in Louisiana salt marshes after the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22733752     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
More than 2 y have passed since the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, yet we still have little understanding of its ecological impacts. Examining effects of this oil spill will generate much-needed insight into how shoreline habitats and the valuable ecological services they provide (e.g., shoreline protection) are affected by and recover from large-scale disturbance. Here we report on not only rapid salt-marsh recovery (high resilience) but also permanent marsh area loss after the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Field observations, experimental manipulations, and wave-propagation modeling reveal that (i) oil coverage was primarily concentrated on the seaward edge of marshes; (ii) there were thresholds of oil coverage that were associated with severity of salt-marsh damage, with heavy oiling leading to plant mortality; (iii) oil-driven plant death on the edges of these marshes more than doubled rates of shoreline erosion, further driving marsh platform loss that is likely to be permanent; and (iv) after 18 mo, marsh grasses have largely recovered into previously oiled, noneroded areas, and the elevated shoreline retreat rates observed at oiled sites have decreased to levels at reference marsh sites. This paper highlights that heavy oil coverage on the shorelines of Louisiana marshes, already experiencing elevated retreat because of intense human activities, induced a geomorphic feedback that amplified this erosion and thereby set limits to the recovery of otherwise resilient vegetation. It thus warns of the enhanced vulnerability of already degraded marshes to heavy oil coverage and provides a clear example of how multiple human-induced stressors can interact to hasten ecosystem decline.
Authors:
Brian R Silliman; Johan van de Koppel; Michael W McCoy; Jessica Diller; Gabriel N Kasozi; Kamala Earl; Peter N Adams; Andrew R Zimmerman
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2012-06-25
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-07-11     Completed Date:  2012-10-05     Revised Date:  2013-07-12    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  11234-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Animals
Conservation of Natural Resources
Ecology
Ecosystem*
Geology
Gulf of Mexico
Humans
Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
Louisiana
Oxidation-Reduction
Petroleum / metabolism*
Petroleum Pollution
Plants / drug effects*
Poaceae / drug effects*
Sodium Chloride / metabolism
Time Factors
Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism
Wetlands
Chemical
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Petroleum; 0/Water Pollutants, Chemical; 7647-14-5/Sodium Chloride
Comments/Corrections

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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