Navigation Links
Academy's mollusk collection plays key role in Gulf oil impact study
Date:8/4/2010

PHILADELPHIAUnknown to most non-scientists, the nation's oldest mollusk collection resides four floors above one of Philadelphia's busiest tourist areas and is now being pressed into action to determine the impact of the nation's worst oil spill.

Scientists recently borrowed a sampling of oyster shells from the Academy of Natural Sciences' malacology collection, the third largest in the world with some 12 million specimens, for their study of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. California Academy of Sciences Curator Dr. Peter Roopnarine, along with Laurie Anderson of Louisiana State University and David Goodwin of Denison University, want to find out how marine life in sensitive marshlands along the Gulf coast will be affected over time.

The study centers on how quickly it takes the hydrocarbons and heavy metals in crude oil to affect marine food webs, something scientists know very little about. In order to track the changes in the specimens that will be studied, many previous samples collected from similar locations and from different time periods are required. Roopnarine said only the Academy of Natural Sciences has suitable specimens from every decade of the 20th century.

"We often think of our collections as storehouses of past knowledge," Roopnarine said. "The collections, however, are tremendously important assets for scientific research on the present."

By using the Academy's oyster shells as a baseline, Roopnarine and his colleagues will be able to determine the quantities of hydrocarbons and heavy metals that were already present in the Gulf mollusks before oil drilling began and then track how much has accumulated as a result of the recent oil spill. The scientists also will look at tellinid clams and periwinkles. Each of the three species uses a different pathway to feed.

If their findings reveal that the shells are adopting hydrocarbons at the same speed, it means they are all drawing these compounds from the water column. If, however, they are being incorporated at different rates, it would mean the animals are receiving contaminants from their food sources. Mollusks are being studied because, as "primary consumers," shellfish are likely to be the first to show traces of hydrocarbons and heavy metals that could later be passed on to creatures that feed on shellfish. Given the carcinogenic nature of hydrocarbons, the concern lies with the physiological damage to marine life once the materials have spread through the food chain.

"There is little use saying 'the BP spill will pollute the Gulf' unless you can demonstrate how polluted the Gulf was to begin with and how long it's been since it wasn't polluted at all," said Paul Callomon, the Academy of Natural Sciences' malacology collection manager. "While much of the oil spill's impact is unknown, Dr. Roopnarine's research using the Academy's collection will create a foundation to answer some of these questions."

On a related note, Academy Malacology Curator Dr. Gary Rosenberg documented more than 1,700 species of mollusks from the Gulf of Mexico for a book published last year on the fauna and flora of that region. Rosenberg said "about 10 percent of the species of mollusks in the Gulf are endemics, known from nowhere else on earth. Such species are the ones at greatest risk from the oil spill."


'/>"/>

Contact: Carolyn Belardo
belardo@ansp.org
215-299-1043
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mollusks taste memories to build shells
2. Melania Trump Takes Time To Shine With New QVC(R) Collection
3. PLoS Genetics 2009 maize genome collection
4. Unique study isolates DNA from Linnaeus botanical collections
5. Avoiding hysterectomy: Major interventional radiology E-collection info available
6. Parascript Signature Verification Technology Used by Moscow Law Firm to Detect Signature Fraud in $160,000 Debt Collection Case
7. Parascript Signature Verification Technology Used by Moscow Law Firm to Detect Signature Fraud in $160,000 Debt Collection Case
8. Hunt for climate-ready crops accelerates as organizations search seed collections worldwide
9. Endangered sawfish focus of national collection and recovery efforts
10. Study finds protein that plays key role in early embryonic development
11. McGill plays important role in new global cancer-research network
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 The Department ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... in the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous ... however Decatur was selected for the ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India ... part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... service provider, today announced a global partnership that ... convenient way to use mobile banking and payment services. ... Mobility is a key innovation area for financial services, but ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)...  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQNM ), a ... the development of innovative products and services, announced today ... States denied its petition to review decisions ... U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 Patent") are not patent ... Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories decision.  ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech USA ... of a Sponsored Research Agreement with The University ... (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding will be ... correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing ... then be employed to support the design of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal articles ... findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 A person commits a crime, and the ... track the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne ... Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria ... far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, ... foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: