Oil spills have surprising effect on herring embryos

© Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection
  • Researchers have previously shown that bunker oil spills can cause heart deformities indeveloping herring embryos. However,new research in San Francisco has tested the effects of oil in both shallow and deep waters.
  • The study investigated the moderately-sized spill of container ship, Cosco Busan, in 2007.
  • The study revealed that almost all embryos in shallow waters died, and their tissues deteriorated faster than expected in the cool water. Embryos had greater chance of survival in deep water.
  • Scientists expect that greater levels of sunlight in shallow waters alters the chemistry of the oil leading to high levels of toxicity, despite the moderate size of oil spill.

Given bunker fuel spills occur relatively frequently, it is important to understand the effect of smaller spills on vulnerable sites. Government may wish to invest in additional research relating to the effect of near-shore/ shallow water spills on embryo development for other species.

For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/7vvhmmq

About Hayley Shaw

Knowledge Exchange Manager at Cranfield University's Centre for Environmental Risks and Futures (CERF). Sharing the latest news from Cranfield, and insights from across the industry. All things risk, environment, and the future.
This entry was posted in Oceans, Marine Life and Fisheries and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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