Deepwater Horizon

Photos by Mark Dodd (left) and Blair Witherington (right)

 

Effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on protected marine species

 
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DWH) covered over 110,000 square kilometers of the ocean surface and reached over 2000 kilometers of shoreline in the northern Gulf of Mexico in 2010. This extensive oiling contaminated vital foraging, migratory, and breeding habitats at the surface, in the water column, and on the ocean bottom throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico. Multiple protected marine species, including marine turtles and marine mammals were affected. The pervasive and prolonged nature of the DWH spill made exposure to oil inescapable for many animals, and caused significant injuries to marine turtle and marine mammal populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The unprecedented size and duration of the DWH spill required different assessment and response approaches than those used in previous spills that occurred closer to shore and in smaller, more confined areas. The papers in this Theme Section of Endangered Species Research highlight the interdisciplinary approaches needed to evaluate and quantify the nature and magnitude of exposures to oil and the resulting mortality of protected species.

 

Editorial team for the Theme Section: Nick Pilcher, Marine Research Foundation, Sebah, Malaysia (Guest Editor); Andre Landry, Professor of Marine Biology and Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (Retired) Texas A&M University at Galveston,TX, USA (Guest Editor); Michael Moore, Senior Research Specialist Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole, MA, USA (Guest Editor); Michael Ziccardi, Director of California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA (Guest Editor); Tracey Goldstein, One Health Institute, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA (Guest Editor)

 

Theme Section coordinators: Bryan Wallace, Abt Environmental Research, Inc. and Duke University Marine Lab (Contact person; bwallace(at)stratusconsulting.com); Barbara Schroeder NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources; Brian Stacy NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources; Lori Schwacke NOAA, National Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science; Teri Rowles NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources