Gladstone, Australia field studies: weathering and degradation of hydrocarbons in oiled mangrove and salt marsh sediments with and without the application of an experimental bioremediation protocol

Burns, K.A., Codi, S., and Duke, N.C. (2000) Gladstone, Australia field studies: weathering and degradation of hydrocarbons in oiled mangrove and salt marsh sediments with and without the application of an experimental bioremediation protocol. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 41 (7-12). pp. 392-402.

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Abstract

This field study was a combined chemical and biological investigation of the relative rates of weathering and biodegradation of oil spilled in sediments and testing the influence of a bioremediation protocol. The aim of the chemistry work presented here was to determine whether the bioremediation protocol affected the rate of penetration, dissipation or long-term retention of a medium range crude oil (Gippsland) and a Bunker C oil stranded in tropical Rhizophora sp. mangrove and Halosarcia sp. salt marsh environments. Permission for the planned oil spills was granted in the Port Authority area of Gladstone, Queensland (Australia). Sediment cores from three replicate plots of each treatment for mangroves and four replicate plots for the salt marsh (oil only and oil plus bioremediation) were analysed for total hydrocarbons (THC) and for individual alkane markers using gas chromatography with flame ionization detection (GC± FID). Sediments were collected at day 2, then 1, 2, 5 or 6 and 12 or 13 months post-spill for mangroves and day 2, 1, 3 and 9 months post-spill for salt marshes. Over this time, hydrocarbons in all of the oil treated plots decreased exponentially. There was no statistical difference in initial oil concentrations, penetration of oil to depth, or in the rates of oil dissipation between untreated oil and bioremediated oil in the mangrove plots. The salt marsh plots treated with the waxy Gippsland oil showed a faster rate of biodegradation of the oil in the bioremediated plots. In this case only, the degradation rate signifcantly impacted the mass balance of remaining oil. The Bunker C oil contained only minor amounts of highly degradable n-alkanes and bioremediation did not signifcantly impact its rate of loss in the salt marsh sediments. At the end of each experiment, there were still n-alkanes visible in the gas chromatograms of residual oils. Thus it was concluded that there was unlikely to be any change in the stable internal biomarkers of the oils over this time period. The predominant removal processes in both habitats were evaporation and dissolution, with a lag-phase of 1-2 months before the start of microbial degradation.

Item ID: 48918
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: mangrove; salt marsh; habitat; pollution; oil; bioremediation; impact; recovery; degradation; Queensland; Australia; IWP
ISSN: 1879-3363
Funders: Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Date Deposited: 11 May 2017 00:16
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050207 Environmental Rehabilitation (excl Bioremediation) @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 40%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961201 Rehabilitation of Degraded Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
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