Response of estuarine meio- and macrofauna to in situ bioremediation of oil-contaminated sediment

Michaela Schratzberger, Fabien Daniel, Caroline M. Wall, Rebecca Kilbride, Sarah J. Macnaughton, Siân E. Boyd, Hubert L. Rees, Kenneth Lee, Richard P. J. Swannell

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of bioremediation for enhancing oil removal but the ecological effect on shoreline biota is unclear. Therefore, a field experiment was designed at an intertidal sandflat in SW England to assess the effects of nutrient addition to oiled sediments on meio- and macrofauna for a period of up to 45 weeks. Natural assemblages were exposed to different types of experimental treatments (no oil, oil alone, oil treated with slow-release fertiliser or liquid fertiliser). Bioremediation stimulated the microbial population and increased oil biodegradation. This, however, did not result in faster recolonisation rates of fertilised versus non-fertilised oiled sediments. Mild effects of oil and bioremediation treatments on benthic fauna were observed, including short-term shifts in dominance patterns. Decreased abundance of dominant species in the oiled compared to unoiled sediments resulted in significantly higher evenness of benthic assemblages within the first 11 weeks of the experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430–443
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes

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