Study Links Negative Biological Impacts to Oil-Exposed Killifish

This representative image of an un-hatched Gulf killifish embryo at 21 days post-fertilization appears underdeveloped, having characteristic features of PAH exposure such as cardiac edema. (Image provided by Benjamin Dubansky)

This representative image of an un-hatched Gulf killifish embryo at 21 days post-fertilization appears underdeveloped, having characteristic features of PAH exposure such as cardiac edema. (Image provided by Benjamin Dubansky)

Scientists from Louisiana State University, University of California-Davis, and Clemson University, studying Deepwater Horizon impacts on killifish from oiled Louisiana estuaries, found that adult fish exhibited genetic responses that indicate physical and reproductive impairment over one year post spill.

Laboratory tests on killifish embryos exposed to oiled sediments showed developmental defects.  These results were published in an article titled, Multi-tissue molecular, genomic, and developmental effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) in the April 2013 edition of Environmental Science & Technology.

Researchers collected killifish – a non-migratory, estuarine-dependent prey species – between May 2010 and August 2011 from oiled areas in Louisiana and from non-oiled areas in coastal Mississippi and Alabama.  This time period coincided with peak killifish spawning. They also collected sediment from oiled and non-oiled sites in Louisiana in between 2010 and 2011.

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