In the years following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, it is evident that sub-lethal measures of toxicity, and integrated laboratory and field studies examining effects on different life stages, offered critically important insights into long-term population-level impacts on exposed organisms. Our goals are to identify integrated genomic, developmental, immunological, and physiological responses of marsh fishes to crude oil contamination.
As we complete these goals, we will define the associated mechanisms of sensitivity to oil exposure during the time-course of ecological recovery. To accomplish our goals, we propose a highly inter-disciplinary approach. We will integrate biological measures from the molecular to physiological levels of effect with in situ and controlled laboratory exposures. With these biological measures of effect, we will be able to pair the findings with analytical chemistry and remote sensing to characterize the nature, severity, and duration of exposure.