Special Issue "Marine Oil Spills"

A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2015).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Merv Fingas
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Spill Science, Edmonton, Alberta T6W 1J6, Canada
Interests: oil spill remote sensing; oil spill dynamics and behaviour; oil spills; oil properties; oil analysis
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Marine oil spills have received a great deal of attention again since the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. Since then there has been extensive research on various aspects of oil spills. The purpose of the invited Special Issue is to publish the most exciting research with respect to the above subjects and to provide a rapid turn-around time regarding reviewing and publishing, and to disseminate the articles freely for research, teaching, and reference purposes.

High quality papers are encouraged, for publication, directly related to various aspects as mentioned below. Novel techniques for the study are encouraged.

  • Topics – Marine oil spills
  • Fate and effects
  • Analytical techniques
  • Behavior and modeling
  • Case studies
  • Cleanup and countermeasures
  • Effects on wildlife

Dr. Merv Fingas
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • oil spills
  • fate and effects
  • analytical techniques
  • behavior and modeling
  • case studies
  • cleanup and countermeasures
  • effects on wildlife

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Gene Transcript Profiling in Sea Otters Post-Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: A Tool for Marine Ecosystem Health Assessment
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse4020039 - 01 Jun 2016
Cited by 2
Abstract
Using a panel of genes stimulated by oil exposure in a laboratory study, we evaluated gene transcription in blood leukocytes sampled from sea otters captured from 2006–2012 in western Prince William Sound (WPWS), Alaska, 17–23 years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill [...] Read more.
Using a panel of genes stimulated by oil exposure in a laboratory study, we evaluated gene transcription in blood leukocytes sampled from sea otters captured from 2006–2012 in western Prince William Sound (WPWS), Alaska, 17–23 years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill (EVOS). We compared WPWS sea otters to reference populations (not affected by the EVOS) from the Alaska Peninsula (2009), Katmai National Park and Preserve (2009), Clam Lagoon at Adak Island (2012), Kodiak Island (2005) and captive sea otters in aquaria. Statistically, sea otter gene transcript profiles separated into three distinct clusters: Cluster 1, Kodiak and WPWS 2006–2008 (higher relative transcription); Cluster 2, Clam Lagoon and WPWS 2010–2012 (lower relative transcription); and Cluster 3, Alaska Peninsula, Katmai and captive sea otters (intermediate relative transcription). The lower transcription of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), an established biomarker for hydrocarbon exposure, in WPWS 2010–2012 compared to earlier samples from WPWS is consistent with declining hydrocarbon exposure, but the pattern of overall low levels of transcription seen in WPWS 2010–2012 could be related to other factors, such as food limitation, pathogens or injury, and may indicate an inability to mount effective responses to stressors. Decreased transcriptional response across the entire gene panel precludes the evaluation of whether or not individual sea otters show signs of exposure to lingering oil. However, related studies on sea otter demographics indicate that by 2012, the sea otter population in WPWS had recovered, which indicates diminishing oil exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
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(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse4020033 - 03 May 2016
Cited by 14
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Exposure of Pink Shrimp, Farfantepenaeus duorarum, Larvae to Macondo Canyon 252 Crude Oil and the Corexit Dispersant
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse4010024 - 08 Mar 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
The release of oil into the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) during the Deepwater Horizon event coincided with the white and pink shrimp spawning season. To determine the potential impact on shrimp larvae a series of static acute (24–96 h) toxicity studies with water [...] Read more.
The release of oil into the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) during the Deepwater Horizon event coincided with the white and pink shrimp spawning season. To determine the potential impact on shrimp larvae a series of static acute (24–96 h) toxicity studies with water accommodated fractions (WAFs) of Macondo Canyon (MC) 252 crude oil, the Corexit 9500A dispersant, and chemically enhanced WAFS (CEWAFs) were conducted with nauplii, zoea, mysid, and postlarval Farfantepenaeus duorarum. Median lethal concentrations (LC50) were calculated and behavior responses (swimming, molting, light sensitivity) evaluated. Impacts were life stage dependent with zoea being the most sensitive. Behavioral responses for all stages, except postlarvae, occurred at below LC50 values. Dispersants had the greatest negative impact while WAFs had the least. No short-term effects (survival, growth) were noted for nauplii exposed to sub-lethal CEWAFs 39 days post-exposure. This study points to the importance of evaluating multiple life stages to assess population effects following contaminant exposure and further, that the use of dispersants as a method of oil removal increases oil toxicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Consensus Ecological Risk Assessment of Potential Transportation-related Bakken and Dilbit Crude Oil Spills in the Delaware Bay Watershed, USA
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse4010023 - 07 Mar 2016
Cited by 13
Abstract
Unconventionally-produced crude oils, i.e., Bakken oil and bitumen diluted for transport and known as dilbit, have become prominent components of the North American petroleum industry. Spills of these oils have occurred during transport from production areas to refineries via pipeline, rail, and [...] Read more.
Unconventionally-produced crude oils, i.e., Bakken oil and bitumen diluted for transport and known as dilbit, have become prominent components of the North American petroleum industry. Spills of these oils have occurred during transport from production areas to refineries via pipeline, rail, and barge. Some of their physical and chemical properties are distinct and present new challenges in mitigating spill impacts on people and the environment. This paper describes the adaptation of a qualitative risk assessment process to improve spill preparedness and response decisions for these oils when transported in an estuarine area. The application of this collaborative, interdisciplinary process drew upon a literature review, the local knowledge and experience of a broad set of decision makers, practitioners, and technical experts who developed consensus-based recommendations aimed at improving response to spills of these oils. Two emphasized components of this consensus ecological risk assessment (CERA) concerned risks: (1) to human health and safety and (2) from spilled oil and the associated response actions on endangered species. Participants in the process defined levels of concern associated with Bakken and dilbit oils relative to a set of response actions in freshwater, brackish and saltwater habitats and on resources at risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
An Oil Fate Model for Shallow-Waters
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(4), 1504-1543; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse3041504 - 04 Dec 2015
Cited by 6
Abstract
We introduce a model for the dynamics of oil in suspension, appropriate for shallow waters, including the nearshore environment. This model is capable of oil mass conservation and does so by evolving the oil on the sea surface as well as the oil [...] Read more.
We introduce a model for the dynamics of oil in suspension, appropriate for shallow waters, including the nearshore environment. This model is capable of oil mass conservation and does so by evolving the oil on the sea surface as well as the oil in the subsurface. The shallower portion of the continental shelf poses compounding unique modeling challenges. Many of these relate to the complex nature of advection and dispersion of oil in an environment in which wind, waves, as well as currents all play a role, as does the complex bathymetry and the nearshore geography. In this study we present an overview of the model as well as derive the most fundamental of processes, namely, the shallow water advectiion and dispersion processes. With regard to this basic transport, we superate several fundamental challenges associated with creating a transport model for oil and other buoyant pollutants, capable of capturing the dynamics at the large spatio-temporal scales demanded by environmental and hazard mitigation studies. Some of the strategies are related to dimension reduction and upscaling, and leave discussion of these to companion papers. Here we focus on wave-filtering, ensemble and depth-averaging. Integral to the model is the proposal of an ocean dynamics model that is consistent with the transport. This ocean dynamics model is detailed here. The ocean/oil transport model is applied to a couple of physically-inspired oil-spill problems in demonstrate its specialized capabilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Human Genotoxic Study Carried Out Two Years after Oil Exposure during the Clean-up Activities Using Two Different Biomarkers
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(4), 1334-1348; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse3041334 - 03 Nov 2015
Cited by 2
Abstract
Micronuclei, comet and chromosome alterations assays are the most widely used biomarkers for determining the genotoxic damage in a population exposed to genotoxic chemicals. While chromosome alterations are an excellent biomarker to detect short- and long-term genotoxic effects, the comet assay only measures [...] Read more.
Micronuclei, comet and chromosome alterations assays are the most widely used biomarkers for determining the genotoxic damage in a population exposed to genotoxic chemicals. While chromosome alterations are an excellent biomarker to detect short- and long-term genotoxic effects, the comet assay only measures early biological effects, and furthermore it is unknown whether nuclear abnormalies, such as those measured in the micronucleus test, remain detectable long-term after an acute exposure. In our previous study, an increase in structural chromosome alterations in fishermen involved in the clean-up of the Prestige oil spill, two years after acute exposure, was detected. The aim of this study is to investigate whether, in lymphocytes from peripheral blood, the nuclear abnormalies (micronucleus, nucleoplasmic bridges and nuclear buds) have a similar sensitivity to the chromosome damage analysis for genotoxic detection two years after oil exposure in the same non-smoker individuals and in the same peripheral blood extraction. No significant differences in nuclear abnormalies frequencies between exposed and non-exposed individuals were found (p > 0.05). However, chromosome damage, in the same individuals, was higher in exposed vs. non-exposed individuals, especially for chromosome lesions (p < 0.05). These findings, despite the small sample size, suggest that nuclear abnormalities are probably less-successful biomarkers than are chromosome alterations to evaluate genotoxic effects two or more years after an exposure to oil. Due to the great advantage of micronucleus automatic determination, which allows for a rapid study of hundreds of individuals exposed to genotoxic chemical exposure, further studies are needed to confirm whether this assay is or is not useful in long-term genotoxic studies after the toxic agent is no longer present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Longer-Term Mental and Behavioral Health Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(4), 1260-1271; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse3041260 - 20 Oct 2015
Cited by 20
Abstract
Mental health issues are a significant concern after technological disasters such as the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill; however, there is limited knowledge about the long-term effects of oil spills. The study was part of a larger research effort to improve understanding of the [...] Read more.
Mental health issues are a significant concern after technological disasters such as the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill; however, there is limited knowledge about the long-term effects of oil spills. The study was part of a larger research effort to improve understanding of the mental and behavioral health effects of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill. Data were collected immediately following the spill and the same individuals were resampled again after the second anniversary (n = 314). The results show that mental health symptoms of depression, serious mental illness and posttraumatic stress have not statistically decreased, and anxiety symptoms were statistically equivalent to immediate symptoms. Results also showed that the greatest effect on anxiety is related to the extent of disruption to participants’ lives, work, family, and social engagement. This study supports lessons learned following the Exxon Valdez spill suggesting that mental health effects are long term and recovery is slow. Elevated symptoms indicate the continued need for mental health services, especially for individuals with high levels of disruption resulting in increased anxiety. Findings also suggest that the longer-term recovery trajectories following the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill do not fall within traditional disaster recovery timelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Bitumen on Water: Charred Hay as a PFD (Petroleum Flotation Device)
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(4), 1244-1259; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse3041244 - 20 Oct 2015
Abstract
Global demand for petroleum keeps increasing while traditional supplies decline. One alternative to the use of conventional crude oils is the utilization of Canadian bitumen. Raw bitumen is a dense, viscous, semi-liquid that is diluted with lighter crude oil to permit its transport [...] Read more.
Global demand for petroleum keeps increasing while traditional supplies decline. One alternative to the use of conventional crude oils is the utilization of Canadian bitumen. Raw bitumen is a dense, viscous, semi-liquid that is diluted with lighter crude oil to permit its transport through pipelines to terminals where it can then be shipped to global markets. When spilled, it naturally weathers to its original form and becomes dense enough to sink in aquatic systems. This severely limits oil spill recovery and remediation options. Here we report on the application of charred hay as a method for modifying the surface behavior of bitumen in aquatic environments. Waste or surplus hay is abundant in North America. Its surface can easily be modified through charring and/or chemical treatment. We have characterized the modified and charred hay using solid-state NMR, contact angle measurements and infrared spectroscopy. Tests of these materials to treat spilled bitumen in model aquatic systems have been undertaken. Our results indicate that bitumen spills on water will retain their buoyancy for longer periods after treatment with charred hay, or charred hay coated with calcium oxide, improving recovery options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Oil Characterization and Distribution in Florida Estuary Sediments Following the Deepwater Horizon Spill
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(3), 1136-1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse3031136 - 23 Sep 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
Barrier islands of Northwest Florida were heavily oiled during the Deepwater Horizon spill, but less is known about the impacts to the shorelines of the associated estuaries. Shoreline sediment oiling was investigated at 18 sites within the Pensacola Bay, Florida system prior to [...] Read more.
Barrier islands of Northwest Florida were heavily oiled during the Deepwater Horizon spill, but less is known about the impacts to the shorelines of the associated estuaries. Shoreline sediment oiling was investigated at 18 sites within the Pensacola Bay, Florida system prior to impact, during peak oiling, and post-wellhead capping. Only two locations closest to the Gulf of Mexico had elevated levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These samples showed a clear weathered crude oil signature, pattern of depletion of C9 to C19 alkanes and C0 to C4 naphthalenes, and geochemical biomarker ratios in concordance with weathered Macondo crude oil. All other locations and sample times showed only trace petroleum contamination. The results of this study are consistent with available satellite imagery and visual shoreline survey data showing heavy shoreline oiling limited to sandy beaches near the entrance to Pensacola Bay and shorelines of Santa Rosa Island. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
RNA-TGGE, a Tool for Assessing the Potential for Bioremediation in Impacted Marine Ecosystems
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(3), 968-980; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse3030968 - 31 Aug 2015
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cultivation-independent genomic approaches have greatly advanced our understanding of the ecology and diversity of microbial communities involved in biodegradation processes. However, much still needs to be resolved in terms of the structure, composition and dynamics of the microbial community in impacted ecosystems. Here [...] Read more.
Cultivation-independent genomic approaches have greatly advanced our understanding of the ecology and diversity of microbial communities involved in biodegradation processes. However, much still needs to be resolved in terms of the structure, composition and dynamics of the microbial community in impacted ecosystems. Here we report on the RNA activity of the microbial community during the bioremediation process using RNA Temperature Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (RNA-TGGE). Dendrograms constructed from similarity matching data produced from the TGGE profiles separated a community exhibiting high remediation potential. Overall, increased Shannon Weaver Diversity indices (1–2.4) were observed in the high potential remediation treatment samples. The functionality of the microbial community was compared, with the microbial community showing the greatest organisation also showing the highest levels of hydrocarbon degradation. Subsequent sequencing of excised bands from the microbial community identified the presence of Gammaproteobacteria together with a number of uncultured bacteria. The data shows that RNA TGGE represents a simple, reproducible and effective tool for use in the assessment of a commercial bioremediation event, in terms of monitoring either the natural or augmented hydrocarbon-degrading microbial community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Oil Spills) Printed Edition available
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