Does Petroleum Hydrocarbon Monitoring of the Marine Environment Require an Upgrade?

A. Scarlett1, T.S. Galloway2 and S.J. Rowland1


Petroleum and Environmental Geochemistry Group, School of Earth, Ocean & Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K
2 Ecotoxicology & Stress Biology Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.

Presented at: SETAC Europe 17th Annual Meeting, Porto, Portugal, 20-24 May 2007

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The extraction and transportation of crude oil has led to contamination of parts of the marine environment by petrogenic hydrocarbons. To minimise risk to marine biota, statutory monitoring programmes exist which require determination of the concentrations of priority PAHs. However, the majority of petrogenic hydrocarbons in oilcontaminated sediments and biota tissues are present as unresolved complex mixtures (UCM), concentrations of which are rarely reported. A small number of studies have shown that components of some aromatic hydrocarbon UCMs are toxic (e.g. to the mussel Mytilus edulis). We have extended these studies to investigate the sublethal effects of UCMs following acute aqueous exposure to mussels and populationlevel effects on the amphipod Corophium volutator when chronically exposed to UCM contaminated sediment.

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