Investigating the effect of oil spills
on the environment and public health.
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Funding Source: Year One Block Grant - The Alabama Marine Environmental Science Consortium

Project Overview

Food Web Impacts of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Coastal Alabama Waterfowl

Principal Investigator
Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL)
University Programs


Waterfowl populations in coastal Alabama have exhibited a marked decrease from once bountiful historic levels.  The April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, and the uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons that ensued, represents a large-scale disturbance with the potential to devastate these already depleted populations.  Because these birds are reliant on the winter production found in nearshore areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico, migrate extremely long distances, and have very high metabolism, we hypothesize these coastal waterfowl may be vulnerable to oil contaminants bioaccumulating unseen in the food web.

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