An Assessment of Potential Oil Spill Damage to Salt Marsh Habitats and Fishery Resources in Galveston Bay, Texas


2000 Dec


Rozas LP
Minello TJ
Henry CB

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



We sampled nekton, benthic infauna, and sediments in salt marshes of upper Galveston Bay, Texas to examine relationships between habitat use and sediment hydrocarbon concentration. Most marsh sediment samples were contaminated with relatively low concentrations of weathered petroleum hydrocarbons. We found few statistically significant negative relationships between animal density and hydrocarbon concentration (6 of 63 taxa examined using simple linear regression). Hydrocarbon concentration did not contribute significantly to Stepwise Multiple Regression models we used to explore potential relationships between animal densities and environmental parameters; in most cases where hydrocarbon concentration was an important variable in the models, the relationship was positive (i.e., animal densities increased with hydrocarbon concentration). Low hydrocarbon concentrations in sediments of upper Galveston Bay marshes could have contributed to our results either because levels were too low to be toxic or levels were toxic but too low to be detected by most organisms




benthic infauna, estuary, fisheries, nekton, salt marsh, sediment hydrocarbon concentration