Oil Impacts on Coastal Wetlands: Implications for the Mississippi River Delta Ecosystem after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

TitleOil Impacts on Coastal Wetlands: Implications for the Mississippi River Delta Ecosystem after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMendelssohn IA, Andersen GL, Baltz DM, Caffey RH, Carman KR, Fleeger JW, Joye SB, Lin QX, Maltby E, Overton EB, Rozas LP
JournalBioscience
Volume62
Pagination562-574
Date PublishedJun
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0006-3568
Accession NumberWOS:000305262500007
KeywordsDeepwater Horizon Oil Spill
AbstractOn 20 April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which released a US government estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, was responsible for the death of 11 oil workers and, possibly, for an environmental disaster unparalleled in US history. For 87 consecutive days, the Macondo well continuously released crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Many kilometers of shoreline in the northern Gulf of Mexico were affected, including the fragile and ecologically important wetlands of Louisiana's Mississippi River Delta ecosystem. These wetlands are responsible for a third of the nation's fish production and, ironically, help to protect an energy infrastructure that provides a third of the nation's oil and gas supply. Here, we provide a basic overview of the chemistry and biology of oil spills in coastal wetlands and an assessment of the potential and realized effects on the ecological condition of the Mississippi River Delta and its associated flora and fauna.
DOI10.1525/bio.2012.62.6.7