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January 13, 2012

Gulf killifish embryos exposed to sediments in Gulf of Mexico

Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) embryos exposed to sediments from oiled locations in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and 2011 show developmental abnormalities, including heart defects, delayed hatching and reduced hatching success.

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Researchers at the University of California, Davis, working in collaboration with researchers from Louisiana and South Carolina, discovered that crude oil toxicity continued to sicken the killifish for at least more than a year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf. Researchers collected fish from an oiled site as well as exposed killifish embryos in the lab to sediment collected from oiled sites at Isle Grande Terre within Barataria Bay, Louisiana.

Killifish--a sentinel Gulf Coast species-- are an environmental indicator species, used to predict broader exposures and health risks. The findings are part of an ongoing collaborative effort to track the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf killifish populations in areas of Louisiana that received heavy amounts of oil. The research was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation (DEB 10-48206 and DEB 1120512).

To learn more about this research, see the UC-Davis news story Health defects found in fish exposed to Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Date of Image: 2012)

Credit: Benjamin Dubansky, Louisiana State University

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