Soares, Marcelo de Oliveira ORCID: and Rabelo, Emanuelle Fontenele (2023) Severe ecological impacts caused by one of the worst orphan oil spills worldwide. Marine Environmental Research, 187 . p. 105936. DOI

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Orphan oil spills pose a severe risk to ocean sustainability; however, they are understudied. We provide the first synthetic assessment of short-term ecological impacts of the most extensive oil spill in tropical oceans, which affected 2900 km of Brazil's coastline in 2019. Oil ingestion, changes in sex ratio and size of animals, morphological abnormalities of larvae and eggs, mutagenic, behavioral, and morphological alterations, contamination by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and mortality were detected. A decrease in species richness and abundance of oil-sensitive animals, an increase in opportunistic and oil-tolerant organisms, and simplification of communities was observed. The impacts were observed in sponges, corals, mollusks, crustaceans, polychaetes, echinoderms, turtles, birds, fish, and mammals. The majority of studies were conducted on bioindicator substrate-associated organisms, with 68.4% of the studies examining the benthos, 21.2% the nekton, and 10.4% the plankton. Moreover, most of the current short-term impacts assessment studies were focused on the species level (66.7%), with fewer studies on the community level (19%), and even fewer on oil-affected ecosystems (14.3%). Oil-related impacts were detected in five sensitive habitats, including blue-carbon ecosystems (e.g., mangroves and seagrass beds) and coastal reefs. These results call for the development of new ocean-basin observation systems for orphan spills. Finally, we discuss how these mysterious oil spills from unknown sources pose a risk to sustainable development goals and ocean-based actions to tackle global climate change

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Ecology > Reef Systems
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.:
ISSN: 01411136
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2023 08:08
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2023 08:08

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