Response of nearshore ecosystems to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Nearshore coastal ecosystems represent one of the most productive environments on the planet, but are threatened as a result of sea level rise, human development and pollution. These ecosystems often act as a sink for contaminants released into the open ocean and rivers, e.g. during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The geographic extent (1000s of km of potentially impacted beaches and marshes) and duration (87 d of oil release) of this oil spill as well as the related response and clean-up activities were unprecedented. Five years after the spill, studies supported by the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment have elucidated many of the consequences of one of the world’s largest oil spills. Understanding these impacts required the integration of multiple marine disciplines (e.g. physical oceanography, zoology, botany, toxicology, geospatial analysis and modeling). The contributions to this Theme Section detail the effects from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in several critical habitats and trophic levels. As a result, the Theme Section represents a comprehensive study of the response of a nearshore ecosystem to an oil spill and the associated response and clean-up activities.

Editors: Charles H. Peterson, Sean Powers, Just Cebrian, Ken Heck


Photo: NOAA (US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)


Individual Theme Section articles are published 'Advance View' as soon as they are ready. Once the Theme Section is completed, they will be fully published in a regular volume of MEPS and given a volume number and page range. Theme Section literature cites within the articles will also be updated.

Rouhani S, Baker MC, Steinhoff M, Zhang M, Oehrig J, Zelo IJ, Emsbo-Mattingly SD, Nixon Z, Willis JM, Hester MW
Nearshore exposure to Deepwater Horizon oil
MEPS TS OIL av:1 | Full text in pdf format


Zengel S, Weaver J, Pennings SC, Silliman B, Deis DR, Montague CL, Rutherford N, Nixon Z, Zimmerman AR
Five years of Deepwater Horizon oil spill effects on marsh periwinkles Littoraria irrorata
MEPS TS OIL av:2 | Full text in pdf format


Michel J, Fegley SR, Dahlin JA, Wood C
Oil spill response-related injuries on sand beaches: when shoreline treatment extends the impacts beyond the oil
MEPS TS OIL av:3 | Full text in pdf format


Baker MC, Steinhoff MA, Fricano GF
Integrated effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on nearshore ecosystems
MEPS TS OIL av:4 | Full text in pdf format


Kenworthy WJ, Cosentino-Manning N, Handley L, Wild M, Rouhani S
Seagrass response following exposure to Deepwater Horizon oil in the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana (USA)
MEPS TS OIL av:5 | Full text in pdf format


Martin CW
Avoidance of oil contaminated sediments by estuarine fishes
MEPS TS OIL av:6 | Full text in pdf format