|Culbertson, J.B., Valiela, I., Olsen, Y., and Reddy, C.M., Effect of field exposure to 38-year old residual petroleum hydrocarbons on growth, condition index, and filtration rate of the ribbed mussel, Geukensia demissa. , Environmental Pollution, 2008; v154, 312-319.|
In September 1969, the Florida barge spilled 700,000 L of No. 2 fuel oil into the salt marsh sediments of Wild Harbor, MA. Today a substantial amount, approximately 100 kg, of moderately degraded petroleum remains within the sediment and along eroding creek banks. The ribbed mussels, Geukensia demissa, which inhabit the salt marsh creek bank, are exposed to the spilled oil. Examination of short-term exposure was done with transplantation of G. demissa from a control site, Great Sippewissett marsh, into Wild Harbor. We also examined the effects of long-term exposure with transplantation of mussels from Wild Harbor into Great Sippewissett. Both the short- and long-term exposure transplants exhibited slower growth rates, shorter mean shell lengths, lower condition indices, and decreased filtration rates. The results add new knowledge about long-term consequences of spilled oil, a dimension that should be included when assessing oil-impacted areas and developing management plans designed to restore, rehabilitate, or replace impacted areas.