Laboratory testing protocol for the impact of dispersed petrochemicals on seagrass

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Journal Article
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2012, 64 (11), pp. 2421 - 2427
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To improve the effectiveness of oil spill mitigation, we developed a rapid, logistically simple protocol to detect petrochemical stress on seagrass. Sections of leaf blades from Zostera muelleri subsp. capricorni were exposed to the water accommodated fraction (WAF) of non-dispersed and dispersed Tapis crude oil and fuel oil (IFO-380) for 5. h. Photosynthetic health was monitored by assessing changes in effective quantum yield of photosystem II (ΔF/Fm') and chlorophyll a pigment concentrations. Loss of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) was measured using an oil-in-water fluorometer, whilst GC-MS analyses quantified the hydrocarbon components within each treatment. Few significant differences were detected in the chlorophyll a pigment analyses; however, ΔF/Fm' appeared sensitive to petrochemical exposure. Dispersing both types of oil resulted in a substantial increase in the TPH of the WAF and was generally correlated with a greater physiological impact to the seagrass health, compared with the oil alone. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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