Sunday, 27 February 2011

The West Falmouth oil spill after 20 years: Fate of fuel oil compounds and effects on animals

J. M. Teal*, J. W. Farrington*, K. A. Burns, J. J. Stegeman*, B. W. Tripp*, B. Woodin* and C. Phinney§
* Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
 Bermuda Biological Station for Research, 17 Biological Station Lane, Bermuda GE01, UK
 Environmental Sciences Program, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Habor Campus, Boston, MA 02125, USA

Available online 3 April 2003. 


The barge Florida spilled No. 2 fuel oil into Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts on 29 September 1969. Sediments from five of the original stations were sampled in August 1989 and analysed for fuel oil hydrocarbons. Two subtidal and one intertidal marsh station showed no evidence of fuel oil. One subtidal mud core had traces of biodegraded fuel oil at 10–15 cm. One marsh core contained 10−6 g g−1 dry wt of weathered and biodegraded fuel oil aromatic hydrocarbons and cycloalkanes at 5–10 cm with lesser concentrations at 0–5 and 10–15 cm. Although present in trace concentrations, these hydrocarbons appear to be slightly inducing cytochrome P4501A in marsh fish (Fundulus heteroclitus).

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§ Current Address: US Geological Survey, Reston, VA 22092, USA.