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Deepwater Horizon crude less toxic to bird eggs after weathering at sea
Date:7/22/2011

e oil from the ground, Smith found the weathered crude oil in the study ranged from 1.7 to 24 times less toxic than fresh crude oil.

"By the time that oil made it through dispersant and was transported to the coast, it had degraded significantly," Smith said. "Birds that were exposed to oil in the Gulf may have transported it back to their nests and subsequently exposed incubating eggs in nests. The weathering process made it less toxic to bird embryos. That doesn't discount the fact that the weathered oil was a significant physical hazard to the adult birds, but that wasn't the focus of our study."

Smith said about 61 percent of the treated eggs died. Among those that hatched, the researchers found no significant differences in deformities or malformations when compared to the control group.

"This study provided toxicity values for this particular oil to assist in risk and damage evaluations and reaffirmed that weathered crude oil is less toxic than fresh crude oil," Smith said. "Recent evidence in fish studies points to potential developmental effects that could result in reduced fitness traits that do not become manifest until later in life. Aside from acute lethality, it would seem important to evaluate potential for developmental or latent effects in birds exposed while still in the egg."


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Contact: John Davis
john.w.davis@ttu.edu
806-742-2136
Texas Tech University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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