Survival in air of Mytilus trossulus following long-term exposure to spilled Exxon Valdez crude oil in Prince William Sound.

Department of Biological Science, California State University, Chico 95929-0515, USA.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part C, Pharmacology, toxicology & endocrinology 01/1999; 122(1):147-52. DOI: 10.1016/S0742-8413(98)10098-1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mussels, Mytilus trossulus, were sampled in 1996 from beaches in Prince William Sound (PWS) which contained residual oil resulting from the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, and from one beach which had been lightly oiled in 1989, but contained no residual oil in 1996. The latter mussels served as un-oiled references. Mussels were also collected from Tee Harbor, Southeast Alaska, to be used as an additional reference group. Where the size of the individuals in the resident population would permit, two size groups were sampled, 32-35 and 18-20 mm in length. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in mussel tissue, and air survival time were determined for each group of mussels. Total PAH concentrations were significantly greater in tissue of mussels from oiled beds (0.6-2.0 micrograms g-1) than from references (0.01-0.12 microgram g-1) (P < 0.01). Oil-exposed mussels had significantly lower LT50 values (P < 0.05) for air survival than reference groups. Tolerance of small mussels to air exposure was significantly greater (P < 0.01) than large mussels in both the unoiled reference and oil exposed groups.