The impact of the “Erika” oil spill on pelagic and coastal marine mammals: Combining demographic, ecological, trace metals and biomarker evidences

Abstract : Oil spills can have direct effects on organisms (mortality or morbidity), indirect effects (through alteration of lower trophic levels) or be associated to exposure to trace elements contained in oil (markers). An effect of the “Erika” oil spill was investigated by spatio-temporally comparing mortality, population structures, diets and concentrations of vanadium, nickel and porphyrins in small delphinids, seals and otters from the French Atlantic coasts. These species might differ in their vulnerability to oil. Changes in mortality and its demographic structures were within previously observed ranges. The diet of the common dolphin showed an extended period of high inter-individual variability in the year 2000. Vanadium concentrations in delphinids were chronically high, but did not increase significantly after the oil spill. Porphyrins concentrations in seals and otters were low suggesting a limited exposure to contaminants, but the ratio between proto- and copro-porphyrins in otter spraints from oiled vs. unoiled sites varied significantly. No measurable effect of the “Erika” oil spill was found in dolphins and seals.
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Vincent Ridoux, Lionel Lafontaine, Paco Bustamante, Florence Caurant, Willy Dabin, et al.. The impact of the “Erika” oil spill on pelagic and coastal marine mammals: Combining demographic, ecological, trace metals and biomarker evidences. Aquatic Living Resources, EDP Sciences, 2004, 17, pp.379-387. ⟨10.1051/alr:2004031⟩. ⟨hal-01158349⟩

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