Oysters as biomonitors of the apex barge oil spill
The collision of the Greek tanker ship Shinoussa resulted in a spill of an estimated 692,000 gallons of catalytic feed stock oil into Galveston Bay on July 28, 1990. Oysters were collected from Galveston Bay Todds Dump (GRID) 235 days previous to the spill and 6,37,132, and 495 days after the spill. Oysters were also collected from Galveston Bay Redfish Island (GBRI), a site known to be impacted by the spill, 37 and 110 days after the spill. The concentration of the 24 polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) measured for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's national status and trends program (NS&T) site showed a sharp increase from about 100 ng/g to over 600 ng/g one week after the spill compared to concentrations 235 days previous to the spill. The concentration of the 24 NS&T PAH in oysters from GBRI ranges from 400 to over 1000 ng/g. Soon after the spill the concentration of the 24 NS&T PAH at Todds Dump decreased to levels not statistically different from pre-spill samples. However, analyses of alkylated and sulfur containing aromatic compounds indicate the oysters were still contaminated with Apex barge oil at least 37 and 110 days after the spill at GBTD and GBRI, respectively. Data from NS&T sampling at GBTD more than a year after the spill (495 days) indicates the presence of alkylated aromatic hydrocarbons that may be from Apex barge oil still in the area. It appears that a sink of Apex barge oil (i.e., in sediments) may periodically be released by storms or other events into the ecosystem near GBTD. Therefore, bioavailable Apex barge oil is still present and may adversely affect oysters 495 days after the spill.