MEPS 576:111-124 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11811

Nearshore exposure to Deepwater Horizon oil

Shahrokh Rouhani1,*, Mary C. Baker2, Marla Steinhoff2, Mengni Zhang1, Jacob Oehrig1, Ian J. Zelo2, Stephen D. Emsbo-Mattingly3, Zachary Nixon4, Jonathan M. Willis5, Mark W. Hester5

1NewFields Companies LLC, 1349 W. Peachtree Street, Suite 2000, Atlanta, GA 30309, USA
2National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Assessment and Restoration Division, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, USA
3NewFields Companies LLC, 300 Ledgewood Place, Suite 305, Rockland, MA 02370, USA
4Research Planning Inc., 1121 Park St., Columbia, SC 29201, USA
5Institute for Coastal and Water Research, Department of Biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA
*Corresponding author:
Advance View was available online October 23, 2016

ABSTRACT: The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill affected more than 2000 km of shoreline. DWH oil entered the nearshore environment, stranding on shorelines as tar balls and/or emulsified oil, or forming submerged oil mats and integrating into nearshore sediments. The available chemistry data showed submerged sediments, especially within the first 50 m from oiled shorelines, displayed patchy distributions of elevated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations in excess of ambient concentrations, which were quantified based on forensic findings establishing their source as being from the Macondo oil. Consistent with observed shoreline oiling conditions, PAH concentrations in the soils of affected Louisiana coastal wetlands were orders of magnitude higher than ambient concentrations, especially in locations along the seaward edge of the marsh. Both total and petrogenic PAHs decreased with distance from the shore in both inland and offshore directions. Although PAHs exhibited evidence of weathering over time, in the most heavily oiled areas, they continued to exceed ambient concentrations by orders of magnitude through fall of 2013.


KEY WORDS: Deepwater Horizon oil spill · National resources damage assessment · NRDA · Salt marsh · Nearshore · Submerged oil · PAH · Louisiana


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Cite this article as: Rouhani S, Baker MC, Steinhoff M, Zhang M and others (2017) Nearshore exposure to Deepwater Horizon oil. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 576:111-124. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11811

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