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Evidence of rapid functional benthic recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Evidence of rapid functional benthic recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Evidence of rapid functional benthic recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident was a massive deep-sea oil spill and resulted in deposition of hydrocarbons at the seafloor surface. Soft sediment benthic macrofauna provide critical global ecosystem services, and little is known about their recovery trajectories from similar disturbances in the deep sea. Recent publications report an initial opportunistic benthic infaunal response and predict 50-100 years for recovery of species-level diversity, abundance, and composition. Sediment profile and plan view imaging data collected at depths from 1040 to 1689 m in 2011 and 2014 not only confirm this opportunistic response but also indicate further stages of functional benthic recovery. The recovery trajectory mimicked benthic succession following organic enrichment that is widely recorded in coastal systems but not the deep sea. Bioturbating taxa were present deep in the sediment column in both years. In 2014, a decline in the relative abundance of opportunistic taxa and a positive rebound in the apparent redox potential discontinuity depth, an integrated measure of biogeochemical functioning, were recorded. These results suggest that bioturbation-mediated microbial degradation is a plausible mechanism by which rapid functional benthic recovery occurred. With oil and gas extraction prevalent in the deep sea, improving the understanding of benthic recovery in these environments is critical.

apparent redox potential discontinuity, bioturbation, deep sea, hydrocarbons, macrofauna, organic enrichment, sediment profile imaging, succession
2690-0637
1760-1771
Guarinello, Marisa L.
8fe87a9b-ad5f-4dc4-917f-6e4e32aef0db
Sturdivant, S. Kersey
9947c63d-4f39-4bb3-b41b-27df092b08ec
Murphy, Anna E.
478ade4c-b4f7-4594-8273-a531115384d6
Brown, Lorraine
0a1fe367-133f-4fca-b143-1fc0b307a3f2
Godbold, Jasmin A.
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf
Carey, Drew A.
95e1fdfe-de88-46c9-aeba-bdded3bb26d8
Germano, Joseph D.
a3d69d5f-3fe6-44a4-ae17-0cf522570948
Guarinello, Marisa L.
8fe87a9b-ad5f-4dc4-917f-6e4e32aef0db
Sturdivant, S. Kersey
9947c63d-4f39-4bb3-b41b-27df092b08ec
Murphy, Anna E.
478ade4c-b4f7-4594-8273-a531115384d6
Brown, Lorraine
0a1fe367-133f-4fca-b143-1fc0b307a3f2
Godbold, Jasmin A.
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a
Solan, Martin
c28b294a-1db6-4677-8eab-bd8d6221fecf
Carey, Drew A.
95e1fdfe-de88-46c9-aeba-bdded3bb26d8
Germano, Joseph D.
a3d69d5f-3fe6-44a4-ae17-0cf522570948

Guarinello, Marisa L., Sturdivant, S. Kersey, Murphy, Anna E., Brown, Lorraine, Godbold, Jasmin A., Solan, Martin, Carey, Drew A. and Germano, Joseph D. (2022) Evidence of rapid functional benthic recovery following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. ACS EST Water, 2 (10), 1760-1771. (doi:10.1021/acsestwater.2c00272).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident was a massive deep-sea oil spill and resulted in deposition of hydrocarbons at the seafloor surface. Soft sediment benthic macrofauna provide critical global ecosystem services, and little is known about their recovery trajectories from similar disturbances in the deep sea. Recent publications report an initial opportunistic benthic infaunal response and predict 50-100 years for recovery of species-level diversity, abundance, and composition. Sediment profile and plan view imaging data collected at depths from 1040 to 1689 m in 2011 and 2014 not only confirm this opportunistic response but also indicate further stages of functional benthic recovery. The recovery trajectory mimicked benthic succession following organic enrichment that is widely recorded in coastal systems but not the deep sea. Bioturbating taxa were present deep in the sediment column in both years. In 2014, a decline in the relative abundance of opportunistic taxa and a positive rebound in the apparent redox potential discontinuity depth, an integrated measure of biogeochemical functioning, were recorded. These results suggest that bioturbation-mediated microbial degradation is a plausible mechanism by which rapid functional benthic recovery occurred. With oil and gas extraction prevalent in the deep sea, improving the understanding of benthic recovery in these environments is critical.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 18 August 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 August 2022
Published date: 14 October 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: Funding for this work was provided by the American Petroleum Institute, Oil Spill Emergency Preparedness and Response Subcommittee. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 American Chemical Society.
Keywords: apparent redox potential discontinuity, bioturbation, deep sea, hydrocarbons, macrofauna, organic enrichment, sediment profile imaging, succession

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 471526
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/471526
ISSN: 2690-0637
PURE UUID: 0d68e28d-572a-472d-80a3-a0aa2ba06eaf
ORCID for Jasmin A. Godbold: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5558-8188
ORCID for Martin Solan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9924-5574

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Nov 2022 17:32
Last modified: 23 Feb 2023 02:58

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Contributors

Author: Marisa L. Guarinello
Author: S. Kersey Sturdivant
Author: Anna E. Murphy
Author: Lorraine Brown
Author: Martin Solan ORCID iD
Author: Drew A. Carey
Author: Joseph D. Germano

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