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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4(2), 33; doi:10.3390/jmse4020033

Vegetation Impact and Recovery from Oil-Induced Stress on Three Ecologically Distinct Wetland Sites in the Gulf of Mexico

Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Magnus Wahlberg
Received: 23 December 2015 / Revised: 21 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 3 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills)
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Abstract

April 20, 2010 marked the start of the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest marine oil spill in US history, which contaminated coastal wetland ecosystems across the northern Gulf of Mexico. We used hyperspectral data from 2010 and 2011 to compare the impact of oil contamination and recovery of coastal wetland vegetation across three ecologically diverse sites: Barataria Bay (saltmarsh), East Bird’s Foot (intermediate/freshwater marsh), and Chandeleur Islands (mangrove-cordgrass barrier islands). Oil impact was measured by comparing wetland pixels along oiled and oil-free shorelines using various spectral indices. We show that the Chandeleur Islands were the most vulnerable to oiling, Barataria Bay had a small but widespread and significant impact, and East Bird’s Foot had negligible impact. A year later, the Chandeleur Islands showed the strongest signs of recovery, Barataria Bay had a moderate recovery, and East Bird’s Foot had only a slight increase in vegetation. Our results indicate that the recovery was at least partially related to the magnitude of the impact such that greater recovery occurred at sites that had greater impact. View Full-Text
Keywords: oil spill; marshes; AVIRIS; spectroscopy; remote sensing; oil impact; cordgrass; mangroves; Mississippi Deltaic Plain; Gulf of Mexico oil spill; marshes; AVIRIS; spectroscopy; remote sensing; oil impact; cordgrass; mangroves; Mississippi Deltaic Plain; Gulf of Mexico
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Shapiro, K.; Khanna, S.; Ustin, S.L. Vegetation Impact and Recovery from Oil-Induced Stress on Three Ecologically Distinct Wetland Sites in the Gulf of Mexico. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4, 33.

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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. EISSN 2077-1312 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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