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Ecotoxicological benthic impacts of experimental oil-contaminated marine snow deposition

van Eenennaam, Justine S., Rohal, Melissa, Montagna, Paul A., Radović, Jagoš R., Oldenburg, Thomas B.P., Romero, Isabel C., Murk, AlberTinka J., Foekema, Edwin M.
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.141 pp. 164-175
Amphipoda, Copepoda, Gastropoda, benthic ecosystems, clay, dose response, ecotoxicology, fauna, food webs, invertebrates, kaolin, marine sediments, oil spills, oils, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, water pollution
Marine Oil Snow Sedimentation and Flocculent Accumulation (MOSSFA) can pose serious threats to the marine benthic ecosystem as it results in a deposition of oil contaminated marine snow on the sediment surface. In a microcosm experiment we investigated the effects of oil in combination with artificial marine snow or kaolin clay on two benthic invertebrate species and benthic meiofauna. The amphipod showed a dose-dependent decrease in survival for both oil-contaminated clay and oil-contaminated marine snow. The gastropod was only affected by the highest concentration of oil-contaminated marine snow and had internal concentrations of PAHs with a similar distribution as oil-contaminated marine snow. Benthic copepods showed higher survival in presence of marine snow. This study revealed that marine snow on the sediment after oil spills affects organisms in a trait-dependent way and that it can be a vector for introducing oil into the food web.