No. 2 fuel oil effects on spartina alterniflora in a Texas salt marsh.




Webb, J.W.
Alexander, S.K.

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The effects of No.2 fuel oil on Spartina alterniflora and the recovery potential of affected plants were investigated in a Galveston Bay, Texas salt marsh. To simulate various oil spill conditions, No.2 fuel oil was applied to 4-square meter plots of S. alterniflora as four treatments (control, sediment only, sediment plus lower plant surfaces, and sediment plus entire plant surfaces). Live stem density was compared among treatments at monthly intervals for one year to determine initial damage to plants and subsequent recovery. Live stem densities in sub-plots established in the middle and on the outer edge of plots were compared to determine whether plant recovery occurred from surviving plants or rhizome growth into plots from the surrounding marsh. Initial damage to plants increased and regrowth from rootstock decreased as oil coverage of above-ground foliage increased. With complete coverage of foliage by oil, above-ground plant material died rapidly and regrowth from rootstock did not occur. When oil was applied to the sediment alone, stem density was slightly reduced, presumably by penetration of oil so that root contact occurred. Low amounts of sediment hydrocarbons plus new stems produced from rhizomes growing into plots from the surrounding marsh indicated that there was little residual oil toxicity in sediments.


p. 9-19.


fuels, salt marshes