Phototoxic effects of two common marine fuels on the settlement success of the coral Acropora tenuis

Nordborg, F. Mikaela, Flores, Florita, Brinkman, Diane L., Agustí, Susana, and Negri, Andrew P. (2018) Phototoxic effects of two common marine fuels on the settlement success of the coral Acropora tenuis. Scientific Reports, 8. 8635.

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Coral reefs are at risk of exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons from shipping spills and uncontrolled discharges during extraction. The toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbons can substantially increase in the presence of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), therefore spills in shallow coral reef environments may be particularly hazardous to reef species. Here we investigated the sensitivity of coral larvae (Acropora tenuis) to dissolved hydrocarbons from heavy fuel oil (HFO) and diesel in the absence and presence of UVR. Larval settlement success decreased with increasing concentrations of dissolved HFO, and co-exposure to UVR doubled the toxicity: 50% effect concentrations (EC50) decreased from 96 (−UVR) to 51 (+UVR) total petroleum aromatic hydrocarbons (TPAH). Toxic thresholds for HFO were similar to concentrations reported during marine spills: EC10s of 24 (−UVR) and 15 (+UVR) µg l−1. While less toxic, diesel also reduced settlement and exhibited phototoxicity: EC10s of 122 (+UVR) and 302 (−UVR) µg l−1. This study demonstrates that the presence of UVR increases the hazard posed by oil pollution to tropical, shallow-water coral reefs. Further research on the effects of oils in the presence of UVR is needed to improve the environmental relevance of risk assessments and ensure appropriate protection for shallow reef environments against oil pollution.

Item ID: 54353
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2018 07:42
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
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