Smooth or smothering? The self-cleaning potential and photosynthetic effects of oil spill on arctic macro-algae Fucus distichus

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Due to increased sea transport and offshore gas and oil exploration, the Arctic is facing an unprecedented risk of marine oil spills. Although beached oil spills can lead to acute and chronic impacts on intertidal ecosystems, the effects of oil spills on macro-algae in Arctic ecosystems is lacking. Here, we assessed the effect and response of the tidal macro-algae Fucus distichus to oiling, i.e. self-cleaning potential by seawater wash and photosynthetic activity. Oiling with four oil types (ANS, Grane, IFO30 and MGO) was simulated by exposing F. distichus tips to oil. Oil removal half-times ranged between 0.8 - 4.5 days, indicating that oiling of macro-algae with the tested oils was short-term. Further, Grane oil mostly inhibited photosynthetic activity whereas oil from ANS, IFO30 and MGO stimulated it. The photosynthetic activity of F. distichus continued to be affected (inhibited or stimulated), even after oil on the tip surface was washed off.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110604
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Fucus distichus, Oil spill, Photosynthetic activity, Self-cleaning potential, Smothering, Tidal zone

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