Investigating the effect of oil spills
on the environment and public health.
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Funding Source: Year One Block Grant - Florida Institute of Oceanography

Project Overview

Assessment of Deepwater Fish Assemblages Associated with Desoto Canyons and Continental Slope Waters in the Eastern GOM

Principal Investigator
Florida State University
Coastal and Marine Laboratory
Member Institutions
Cape Eleuthera Institute, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, Texas A&M University at Galveston, University of Florida, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of North Florida, Virginia Institute of Marine Science


In this study we propose to evaluate the slope fauna of the northeast Gulf of Mexico to determine the impact of oil and dispersants on top-level predator species.  These deep-water species and habitats are likely among the first to be affected by the oil spill, yet little is known about resident assemblages.  We seek to answer three general questions.  What are the spatial and depth-mediated differences in the faunal assemblages of large assemblages of large demersal fishes within DeSoto Canyon (head, mouth, northwest wall, southeast wall) and along the adjacent continental slope?  Is there any evidence that these demersal fishes have been exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)? If so, are there spatial and depth-mediated differences in detected exposure and does this correlate with any differences in fish health?


This research was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.