Impacts of a fuel oil spill on seagrass meadows in a subtropical port, Gladstone, Australia: the value of long-term marine habitat monitoring in high risk areas

Taylor, Helen, and Rasheed, Michael (2011) Impacts of a fuel oil spill on seagrass meadows in a subtropical port, Gladstone, Australia: the value of long-term marine habitat monitoring in high risk areas. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 63 (5-12). pp. 431-437.

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Abstract

We used an established seagrass monitoring programme to examine the short and longer-term impacts of an oil spill event on intertidal seagrass meadows. Results for potentially impacted seagrass areas were compared with existing monitoring data and with control seagrass meadows located outside of the oil spill area.

Seagrass meadows were not significantly affected by the oil spill. Declines in seagrass biomass and area 1 month post-spill were consistent between control and impact meadows. Eight months post-spill, seagrass density and area increased to be within historical ranges. The declines in seagrass meadows were likely attributable to natural seasonal variation and a combination of climatic and anthropogenic impacts. The lack of impact from the oil spill was due to several mitigating factors rather than a lack of toxic effects to seagrasses. The study demonstrates the value of long-term monitoring of critical habitats in high risk areas to effectively assess impacts.

Item ID: 31788
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: seagrass, heavy fuel oil, intertidal habitat, long-term monitoring
Funders: Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Programme, Gladstone Ports Corporation, Fisheries Queensland, CRC Reef Research Centre’s Ports and Shipping Programme
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2014 09:30
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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