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Accession: MLT-GCEO-1112 Research Theme: Multi-Disciplinary Study (Other Study)
Contributors: Brittany DeLoach McCall, Steve Pennings, Huy Vu, Kazik Wieski, Hongyu Guo, Brittany DeLong, Claudia Grimm, Annika Stark, Thomas Decker
Title: Disturbance and recovery of salt marsh arthropod communities in Louisiana and Mississippi following the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
Abstract: Oil spills represent a major environmental threat to coastal wetlands, which provide a variety of critical ecosystem services to humanity. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a hub of oil and gas exploration and production with recognized consequences on intertidal habitats, such as the salt marsh. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we sampled the marine invertebrate and the terrestrial arthropod community found in stands of Spartina alterniflora, the most abundant plant in coastal salt marshes, in 2010 as oil was washing ashore and a year later in 2011. In 2010, intertidal crabs and terrestrial arthropods (insects and spiders) were suppressed by oil exposure even in seemingly unaffected stands of plants; however, Littoraria snails appeared unaffected. One year later, crab and arthropods appeared to have largely recovered. Our work is the first attempt that we know of assessing vulnerability of the salt marsh arthropod community to oil exposure, and it suggests that arthropods are both quite vulnerable to oil exposure, and quite resilient, able to recover from exposure within a year if host plants remain healthy. BP's Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf Coast presented an opportunity to understand how stress from an oil spill might affect variables that we were measuring in the area. The study was conducted at sites in Louisiana and Mississippi. At each site, a 100m transect was sampled within 5m of the dead zone boundary. Sampling was conducted in August 2010 and August 2011. The number of sites and location of sites differed slightly among years.
DOI: 10.6073/pasta/8da296e41363a8fcb931d44a71264107
Key Words: abundance, Acridid, arthropods, Cecidomyiidae, Chaetopsis, Chloropidae, Delphacodes, disturbance, Dolichopodidae, ecosystems, fertilization, Foraminifera, Geukensia, insects, invertebrates, irradiance, Ischnodemus, latitude, Littoraria, longitude, marine, Megamealus, Melampus, nematodes, Oligochaetes, organic content, plants, pollution, Polychaetes, Prokelisia, salinity, sediments, Tettigoniid, Trigonotylus, Tytthus
LTER Core Area: Disturbance Patterns
Research Themes: Multi-Disciplinary Study, Aquatic Invertebrate Ecology, Organic Matter/Decomposition, Plant Ecology, Population Ecology, Terrestrial Insect Ecology
Study Period: 01-Aug-2010 to 30-Aug-2011
Study Sites:
SE_Coast -- Southeastern USA Coast, USA
» Download Geographic Coverage: Google Earth
Species References: Delphacodes penedetecta, Geukensia demissa, Littoraria irrorata, Melampus bidentatus, Prokelisia marginata, Spartina alterniflora, Trigonotylus uhleri, Tytthus vagus
Data References: MLT-GCET-1106a (Prior survey (thesis study)), MLT-GCET-1106b (Prior experimental plot study (thesis study))

McCall, B.D. and Pennings, S.C. 2012. Disturbance and recovery of salt marsh arthropod communities following BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. PLoS ONE. (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032735)

Zengel, S., Weaver, J., Pennings, S.C., Silliman, B.R., Deis, D., Montague, C.L., Zimmerman, A., Rutherford, N. and Nixon, Z. 2017. Five years of Deepwater Horizon oil spill effects on marsh periwinkles Littoraria irrorata. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 576:135-144. (DOI: 10.3354/meps11827)

Downloads: Information

Data Table: MLT-GCEO-1112 (Main data table for data set MLT-GCEO-1112, 23 records)

Access: Public (released 01-Jan-2012)

Metadata: Text (ESA FLED), XML (Ecological Metadata Language)

Data Formats: Spreadsheet (CSV) [9.12kb],  Text File [7.89kb],  MATLAB (GCE Toolbox) [248.05kb],  MATLAB (Variables) [263.63kb],  Text Report [90.40kb]

Column List:(hide)

Column Name Units Type Description
1 Location none string Name of the sampling location
2 Latitude degrees floating-point Geographic latitude of the sampling location
3 Longitude degrees floating-point Geographic longitude of the sampling location
4 Day D integer Calendar day site was sampled
5 Month M integer Calendar month site was sampled
6 Year YYYY integer Calendar year site was sampled
7 Oil_Presence none integer Presence of obvious oil in water and on plants and soil
8 Soil_Organic_Content percent floating-point Soil organic content as determined by loss of dry mass after ignition in a muffle furnace
9 Soil_Water_Content percent floating-point Soil water content as determined by difference between wet weight and dry weight
10 Soil_Salinity PSU floating-point Salinity of pore water
11 Soil_Bitumen percent floating-point Oil content of soil by mass
12 Leaf_Nitrogen percent floating-point nitrogen content of Spartina alterniflora leaf
13 Spartina_Cover percent floating-point percent cover of Spartina in 0.5 x 0.5 m quadrat
14 Dead_Plant_Cover percent floating-point percent cover of dead plant material in 0.5 x 0.5 m quadrat
15 Spartina_Height cm floating-point Height of tallest Spartina alterniflora plant
16 PAR_Above_Canopy µE/m^2/s floating-point PAR reading above plant canopy
17 PAR_Below_Canopy µE/m^2/s floating-point PAR reading at soil level
18 Light_Intercepted ratio floating-point Fraction of light intercepted by the canopy
19 Littoraria_Density count/m^2 floating-point Average number of littoraria per square meter
20 Littoraria_Height mm floating-point Average spire height of Littoraria from transect
21 Melampus_Density count/m^2 floating-point Average number of Melampus per square meter
22 Black_Snail_Density count/m^2 floating-point Average number of black snails per square meter
23 Geukensia_Density count/m^2 floating-point Average number of Geukensia per square meter
24 Crab_Burrow_Density count/m^2 floating-point Average number of crab burrows per square meter
25 Crab_Burrow_Diameter cm floating-point Average diameter of crab burrows from transect
26 Tettigoniid_Abundance none integer Estimate of tettigoniid abundance
27 Foraminifera_​Count_​Sediment count integer Number of Foraminifera in pooled sediment sample
28 Nematode_Count_Sediment count integer Number of nematodes in pooled sediment sample
29 Polychaete_Count_Sediment count integer Number of polychaetes in pooled sediment sample
30 Oligochaete_​Count_​Sediment count integer Number of oligochaetes in pooled sediment sample
31 Unident_​Worm_​Count_​Sediment count integer Number of unidents in pooled sediment sample Number of Worms in pooled sediment sample
32 Snail_Count_Sediment count integer Number of snails in pooled sediment sample
33 Bivalve_Count_Sediment count integer Number of bivalves in pooled sediment sample
34 Other_​Mollusc_​Count_​Sediment count integer Number of other molluscs in pooled sediment sample
35 Crab_Count_Sediment count integer Number of crabs in pooled sediment sample
36 Amphipod_Count_Sediment count integer Number of amphipods in pooled sediment sample
37 Insect_Count_Sediment count integer Number of insects in pooled sediment sample
38 Spider_Count_Sediment count integer Number of spiders in pooled sediment sample
39 Other_​Arthropod_​Count_​Sediment count integer Number of other arthropods in pooled sediment sample
40 Unidentified_​Infauna_​Count_​Sediment count integer Number of unidentified infauna in pooled sediment sample
41 Trigonotylus_​uhleri_​Count_​DVac count integer Number of Trigonotylus uhleri in pooled DVac sample
42 Leafhopper_Count_DVac count integer Number of leafhoppers in pooled DVac sample
43 Prokelisia_Count_DVac count integer Number of Prokelisia in pooled DVac sample
44 Delphacodes_​penedetecta_​Count_​DVac count integer Number of Delphacodes penedetecta in pooled DVac sample
45 Megamealus_Count_DVac count integer Number of Megamealus in pooled DVac sample
46 Immature_​Delphacids_​Count_​DVac count integer Number of immature Delphacids in pooled DVac sample
47 Other_​Planthopper_​Count_​DVac count integer Number of other Planthoppers in pooled DVac sample
48 Ischnodemus_Count_DVac count integer Number of Ischnodemus in pooled DVac sample
49 Tettigonid_Count_DVac count integer Number of Tettigonid in pooled DVac sample
50 Acridid_Count_DVac count integer Number of Acridid in pooled DVac sample
51 Thrips_Count_DVac count integer Number of Thrips in pooled DVac sample
52 Weevil_Count_DVac count integer Number of weevils in pooled DVac sample
53 Chaetopsis_Fly_Count_DVac count integer Number of Chaetopsis fly in pooled DVac sample
54 Chloropidae_Count_DVac count integer Number of Chloropidae in pooled DVac sample
55 Cecidomyiidae_Count_DVac count integer Number of Cecidomyiidae in pooled DVac sample
56 Dolichopodidae_Count_DVac count integer Number of Dolichopodidae in pooled DVac sample
57 Other_​Herbivore_​Count_​DVac count integer Number of other herbivores in pooled DVac sample
58 Tythus_vagus_Count_DVac count integer Number of Tythus vagus in pooled DVac sample
59 Naemia_Count_DVac count integer Number of Naemia in pooled DVac sample
60 Hogna_Count_DVac count integer Number of Hogna in pooled DVac sample
61 Pardosa_Count_DVac count integer Number of Pardosa in pooled DVac sample
62 Marpissa_Count_DVac count integer Number of Marpissa in pooled DVac sample
63 Other_Salticid_Count_DVac count integer Number of other Salticid in pooled DVac sample
64 Clubionid_Count_DVac count integer Number of Clubionid in pooled DVac sample
65 Tetragnatha_Count_DVac count integer Number of Tetragnatha in pooled DVac sample
66 Grammonota_Count_DVac count integer Number of Grammonota in pooled DVac sample
67 Other_Spider_Count_DVac count integer Number of other spiders in pooled DVac sample
68 Other_Predator_Count_DVac count integer Number of other predators in pooled DVac sample
69 Wasp_Count_DVac count integer Number of wasps in pooled DVac sample
70 Collembola_Count_DVac count integer Number of Collembola in pooled DVac sample
71 Brachycera_Count_DVac count integer Number of Brachycera in pooled DVac sample
72 Nematocera_Count_DVac count integer Number of Nematocera in pooled DVac sample
73 Ant_Count_DVac count integer Number of ants in pooled DVac sample
74 Dragonfly_Count_DVac count integer Number of dragonflies in pooled DVac sample
75 Cricket_Count_DVac count integer Number of crickets in pooled DVac sample
76 Amphipod_Count_DVac count integer Number of Amphipods in pooled DVac sample
77 Coleoptera_Count_DVac count integer Number of Coleoptera in pooled DVac sample
78 Crab_Count_DVac count integer Number of crabs in pooled DVac sample
79 Mite_Count_DVac count integer Number of mites in pooled DVac sample
80 Total_​Arthropod_​Count_​DVac count integer Total arthropods in pooled DVac sample
Statistics: Generate script code to retrieve data tables for analysis in: MATLAB, R, SAS, SPSS
Citation: McCall, Brittany DeLoach. 2011. Disturbance and recovery of salt marsh arthropod communities in Louisiana and Mississippi following the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER Project, University of Georgia, Long Term Ecological Research Network. http://dx.doi.org/10.6073/pasta/8da296e41363a8fcb931d44a71264107

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.