Photo-enhanced toxicity of dispersed and burned crude oil to Arctic mussels
Photo-enhanced toxicity of crude oil is real and mussels inhabit the photic zone. Photo-enhanced toxicity, (i.e. the increase in toxicity associated with the presence of sunlight), of oil and dispersed oil has been identified in many studies over the past 20 years to various marine species. determined that light enhanced the toxicity of crude oil 2 - 100 fold and the toxicity of anthracene, fluoranthene and pyrene (chemical compounds in oil) 12 - 50,000 fold. An oil spill in Arctic regions during the summer would expose oil to sunlight for 24 hours per day and may result in significant photo-enhanced toxicity. There is a lack of knowledge on the toxicity of burned oil to Arctic/Subarctic species. Bay mussels (Mytilus trossulus) are an integral component of coastal ecosystems and an important food source for both wildlife and humans.
Dr. Patrick Tomco
Ph.D. Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry Assistant Professor of Chemistry University of Alaska, Anchorage