Ecotoxicological Benthic Impacts of Experimental Oil-contaminated Marine Snow Deposition

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MOSSFA, Marine snow, Benthic invertebrates, Meiofauna, Oil toxicity, Bioavailability

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Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA) can pose serious threats to the marine benthic ecosystem as it results in a deposition of oil contaminated marine snow on the sediment surface. In a microcosm experiment we investigated the effects of oil in combination with artificial marine snow or kaolin clay on two benthic invertebrate species and benthic meiofauna. The amphipod showed a dose-dependent decrease in survival for both oil-contaminated clay and oil-contaminated marine snow. The gastropod was only affected by the highest concentration of oil-contaminated marine snow and had internal concentrations of PAHs with a similar distribution as oil-contaminated marine snow. Benthic copepods showed higher survival in presence of marine snow. This study revealed that marine snow on the sediment after oil spills affects organisms in a trait-dependent way and that it can be a vector for introducing oil into the food web.

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Marine Pollution Bulletin, v. 141, p. 164-175