Salt marsh sediment biogeochemical response to the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout

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doi: 10.2134/jeq2013.11.0441
Authors:Mills, Calista G.; McNeal, Karen S.
Author Affiliations:Primary:
Mississippi State University, Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State, MS, United States
North Carolina State University, United States
Volume Title:Journal of Environmental Quality
Source:and [Journal of Environmental Quality, 43(5), p.1813-1819. Publisher: American Society of Agronomy,] Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, United States. ISSN: 0047-2425
Publication Date:2014
Note:In English. 29 refs.; illus., incl. sketch map
Summary:The impact of the Deepwater Horizon blowout on salt marshes was investigated by observing the biogeochemistry in salt marsh sediments along the Gulf Coast. High sulfide levels due to hydrocarbon loading, increased microbial activity, and microbial community shifts can lead to plant browning and mortality. Sediment biogeochemical processes that degrade enriched carbon pools through sulfate reduction are primarily responsible for the biodegradation of spilled hydrocarbons. An assessment of the impact of contamination on salt marshes at Skiff Island, LA, and Cat Island, Marsh Point, and Saltpan Island, MS, was achieved through sediment electrode profiling, microbial community profiling, and quantification of hydrocarbon contamination, which captured the spatial sedimentary biogeochemical response that affects salt marsh productivity. At western locations (Skiff and Cat Islands), total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) ranged from 2183 to 2996 mg kg-1, which was more than double the TPH concentration observed at eastern locales. At eastern study locations (e.g., Marsh Point), sedimentary pore-water H2S concentrations were higher (maximum value = 231 mg L-1) and detected further up in the sediment column than at western locales (e.g., Skiff Island). Similarly, anaerobic and aerobic microbial activity, as measured by C substrate utilization profiles and well-color development, was as high or higher at eastern locations as compared with western locations. These results indicate that other factors besides location or degree of contamination, perhaps sedimentary dynamics and physical processes specific to each marsh, should be considered when determining salt marsh response to hydrocarbon contamination.
Subjects:Anaerobic environment; Biodegradation; Chromatograms; Coastal environment; Concentration; Cores; Deepwater Horizon oil spill; Degradation; Detection; Discharge; Electrodes; Hydrocarbons; Marine environment; Marshes; Measurement; Microorganisms; Mires; Oil spills; Organic compounds; Pollution; Pore water; Reduction; Rhizosphere; Salt marshes; Sediments; Soils; Sulfates; Total organic carbon; Toxic materials; Transport; Wetlands; Atlantic Ocean; Gulf of Mexico; Harrison County Mississippi; Jackson County Mississippi; Louisiana; Mississippi; Mississippi Delta; North Atlantic; United States; Cat Island; Saltpan Island; Skiff Island
Coordinates:N295000 N302500 W0882500 W0892000
Record ID:2015097389
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2018 American Geosciences Institute.
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