Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



In August 1979 six arrays of defaunated sediment were deployed at each of three sites in the Middle Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. Three arrays at each site had Prudhoe Bay crude oil mixed with the sediment. Because of technical difficulties recovery was limited to one control and one oiled array from two sites--one near the shelf break and one in a mid-shelf swale--after 10 months in situ. Moderate to severe sediment erosion occurred in boxes recovered from the mid-shelf. Chemical analyses indicated that between 50 and 90 percent of the added oil remained in the sediments after 10 months and also that the oil was qualitatively similar to the added oil. Relatively more oil was retained in the muddy sands near the shelf break than in the mid-shelf fine sands. Generally, there was no demonstrable effect of Prudhoe Bay crude oil contamination on colonization by either macrobenthos or me!obenthos, although at the shelf break certain species were less successful colonizers of oiled boxes. Results are consistent with the hypothesis that less frequently disturbed finer grained habitats are more susceptible and sensitive to oil contamination.


Under contract no. AA551-CT8-32 with Bureau of Land Management


Oil pollution of the sea -- Environmental aspects -- Atlantic Ocean, Benthos -- Atlantic Ocea



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