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Hydrocarbon contamination affects deep-sea benthic oxygen uptake and microbial community composition

Hydrocarbon contamination affects deep-sea benthic oxygen uptake and microbial community composition
Hydrocarbon contamination affects deep-sea benthic oxygen uptake and microbial community composition
Accidental oil well blowouts have the potential to introduce large quantities of hydrocarbons into the deep sea and disperse toxic contaminants to midwater and seafloor areas over ocean-basin scales. Our ability to assess the environmental impacts of these events is currently impaired by our limited understanding of how resident communities are affected. This study examined how two treatment levels of a water accommodated fraction of crude oil affected the oxygen consumption rate of a natural, deep-sea benthic community. We also investigated the resident microbial community’s response to hydrocarbon contamination through quantification of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and their stable carbon isotope (?13C) values. Sediment community oxygen consumption rates increased significantly in response to increasing levels of contamination in the overlying water of oil-treated microcosms, and bacterial biomass decreased significantly in the presence of oil. Multivariate ordination of PLFA compositional (mol%) data showed that the structure of the microbial community changed in response to hydrocarbon contamination. However, treatment effects on the ?13C values of individual PLFAs were not statistically significant. Our data demonstrate that deep-sea benthic microbes respond to hydrocarbon exposure within 36 h.
Benthic respiration, Experimental incubations, PLFA, Blowout, Contamination, Bacteria, Remineralisation
0967-0637
79-87
Main, C.E.
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Ruhl, H.A.
177608ef-7793-4911-86cf-cd9960ff22b6
Jones, D.O.B.
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Yool, A.
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Thornton, B.
ae7b338f-3326-4db1-b6d5-de09a960287b
Mayor, D.J.
461ddc80-a25d-45b5-873f-9cbf4aa93828
Main, C.E.
0a5d6d23-b877-4767-8881-70b11847a14b
Ruhl, H.A.
177608ef-7793-4911-86cf-cd9960ff22b6
Jones, D.O.B.
44fc07b3-5fb7-4bf5-9cec-78c78022613a
Yool, A.
882aeb0d-dda0-405e-844c-65b68cce5017
Thornton, B.
ae7b338f-3326-4db1-b6d5-de09a960287b
Mayor, D.J.
461ddc80-a25d-45b5-873f-9cbf4aa93828

Main, C.E., Ruhl, H.A., Jones, D.O.B., Yool, A., Thornton, B. and Mayor, D.J. (2015) Hydrocarbon contamination affects deep-sea benthic oxygen uptake and microbial community composition. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 100, 79-87. (doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2014.12.008).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Accidental oil well blowouts have the potential to introduce large quantities of hydrocarbons into the deep sea and disperse toxic contaminants to midwater and seafloor areas over ocean-basin scales. Our ability to assess the environmental impacts of these events is currently impaired by our limited understanding of how resident communities are affected. This study examined how two treatment levels of a water accommodated fraction of crude oil affected the oxygen consumption rate of a natural, deep-sea benthic community. We also investigated the resident microbial community’s response to hydrocarbon contamination through quantification of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and their stable carbon isotope (?13C) values. Sediment community oxygen consumption rates increased significantly in response to increasing levels of contamination in the overlying water of oil-treated microcosms, and bacterial biomass decreased significantly in the presence of oil. Multivariate ordination of PLFA compositional (mol%) data showed that the structure of the microbial community changed in response to hydrocarbon contamination. However, treatment effects on the ?13C values of individual PLFAs were not statistically significant. Our data demonstrate that deep-sea benthic microbes respond to hydrocarbon exposure within 36 h.

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 January 2015
Published date: June 2015
Keywords: Benthic respiration, Experimental incubations, PLFA, Blowout, Contamination, Bacteria, Remineralisation
Organisations: Marine Systems Modelling, Ocean and Earth Science, Marine Biogeochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 373352
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/373352
ISSN: 0967-0637
PURE UUID: 2a48c021-6153-4c8f-a3ff-fb0f8b050bb0

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Date deposited: 15 Jan 2015 13:51
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 06:15

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Contributors

Author: C.E. Main
Author: H.A. Ruhl
Author: D.O.B. Jones
Author: A. Yool
Author: B. Thornton
Author: D.J. Mayor

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