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Oil spill, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Metabolites, Fish, Urophycis

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Prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we lacked a comprehensive baseline of oil contamination in the Gulf of Mexico's sediments, water column, and biota. Gaps in prespill knowledge limit our ability to determine the aftereffects of the Deepwater Horizon blowout or prepare to mitigate similar impacts during future oil spill disasters. We examined spatiotemporal differences in exposure to and metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in 2 hake species (Urophycis spp.) to establish a current baseline for these ecologically important, abundant, and at-risk demersal fishes. Gulf hake (Urophycis cirrata) and southern hake (Urophycis floridana) were collected throughout the Gulf of Mexico during extensive longline surveys from 2012 to 2015. Analyses of biliary PAH metabolites and liver PAH concentrations provided evidence of exposures to di- and tricyclic compounds, with the highest concentrations measured in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Species-specific differences were not detected, but temporal trends observed in biliary PAHs suggest a decrease in acute exposures, whereas increasing liver PAHs suggest chronic exposures marked by greater assimilation than metabolism rates. To our knowledge, the present study provides the first multitissue contaminant analyses, as well as the most exhaustive biometric analyses, for both gulf and southern hakes. Though sources of exposure are complex because of multiple natural and anthropogenic PAH inputs, these results will facilitate the development of much needed health metrics for Gulf of Mexico benthos. Environ Toxicol Chem 2019;38:2740-2749. © 2019 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of SETAC.

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Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 38, issue 12, p. 2740–2749