Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Treating oil spills with chemical dispersants: Is the cure worse than the ailment?

Date:
July 5, 2013
Source:
Society for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Treating oil spills at sea with chemical dispersants is detrimental to European sea bass. A new study suggests that although chemical dispersants may reduce problems for surface animals, the increased contamination under the water reduces the ability for fish and other organisms to cope with subsequent environmental challenges.

Oil and dispersant impact the ability of sea bass to face increased temperature, reduced oxygen availability or to swim against a current.
Credit: Nicolas Le Bayon, Ifremer

Treating oil spills at sea with chemical dispersants is detrimental to European sea bass. A new study, to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Valencia on July 6, suggests that although chemical dispersants may reduce problems for surface animals, the increased contamination under the water reduces the ability for fish and other organisms to cope with subsequent environmental challenges.

Related Articles


A team of researchers headed by Prof Guy Claireaux at the University of Brest in France looked for the first time at the effects of chemically dispersed oil on the performance of European seabass to subsequent environmental challenges.

The researchers designed swimming challenge tests in an 'aquatic treadmill', similar to the tests used in human medicine for health diagnosis. They analysed European seabass' maximum swimming performance, hypoxia tolerance and thermal sensitivity as markers for their capabilities to face natural contingencies. They then exposed the fish to untreated oil, chemically dispersed oil or dispersant alone for 48 hours. During the following 6 weeks they measured individual growth and then once again analysed the seabass' performance in the swimming challenge tests.

Oil exposure impacted the ability of fish to face increased temperature, reduced oxygen availability or to swim against a current and these effects were further aggravated with the addition of the dispersant. The dispersant alone had no effect on the ability of fish to face the challenge tests.

Prof Claireaux said "An oil slick reaching the shore is not good for tourism and organisms living on the coast line. Treating the slick at sea will avoid or reduce these problems affecting surface animals (birds and marine mammals). On the other hand, oil dispersion will increase the contamination of the water column and the organisms that occupy it."

Though applying dispersants at sea may reduce the environmental and economic impacts of an oil spill reaching the shoreline, these results show that the choice of response deployed to deal with a spill involves a trade-off between the effects at the surface and in the water column.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Experimental Biology. "Treating oil spills with chemical dispersants: Is the cure worse than the ailment?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705212219.htm>.
Society for Experimental Biology. (2013, July 5). Treating oil spills with chemical dispersants: Is the cure worse than the ailment?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705212219.htm
Society for Experimental Biology. "Treating oil spills with chemical dispersants: Is the cure worse than the ailment?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705212219.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Storm Means Dangerous Driving in South

Winter Storm Means Dangerous Driving in South

AP (Feb. 26, 2015) A new winter storm is stretching across the south, making travel treacherous throughout the region. (Feb. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New York City Surrounded by Ice Floes

New York City Surrounded by Ice Floes

AP (Feb. 25, 2015) The freezing temperatures that have plagued much of the eastern U.S. haven&apos;t spared New York City. The waterways around the island of Manhattan are filled with ice. (Feb. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Widespread Flooding in Northern Bolivia

Raw: Widespread Flooding in Northern Bolivia

AP (Feb. 25, 2015) Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia surveyed severe flood damage in the northern province of Pando, as people were evacuated from partially submerged houses by boat. (Feb. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

The Amazon Keeps Its Green Thanks To The Sahara Desert

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Satellite data shows the Amazon rainforest supports its lush flora with a little help from Sahara Desert dust. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins