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HAMC: Lingering Exxon Valdez Oil

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Habitat Assessment & Marine Chemistry
Contaminants and Oil:
Lingering Exxon Valdez Oil
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Oil in Prince William Sound
Oil in Prince William Sound

Habitat researchers have been investigating the longterm and lingering impacts of oil from the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. Since 2001 our studies have focused on determining how much oil remains in the beach sediments of Prince William Sound, the distribution of that oil across habitat types, and the annual rate at which the oil is lost. Additional questions include the availability of that oil to intertidal life, how toxic the oil remains, and the pathways by which birds and otters that feed in the intertidal might be exposed. These studies have located a surprising amount of toxic oil still present from the spill and have altered scientific thinking about the long-term effects of oil spills.


Key Publications to this Research

Short, J.W., J.M. Maselko, M.R. Lindeberg, P.M. Harris, and S.D. Rice. 2006. Vertical distribution and probability of encountering intertidal Exxon Valdez oil on shorelines of three embayments within Prince William Sound, Alaska. Environmental Science and Technology. 40:3723-3729.

Short, J.W., M.R. Lindeberg, P.M. Harris, J. Maselko, J.J. Pella, and S.D. Rice. 2004. An estimate of oil persisting on beaches of Prince William Sound, 12 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Environmental Science and Technology 38:19-25.;

Short, J.W. and R.A. Heintz. 1997. Identification of Exxon Valdez oil in sediments and tissues from Prince William Sound and the Northwestern Gulf of Alaska based on PAH weathering. Environmental Science and Technology 31:2375-2384.

Related Links
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EVOS Reopener Information

Jeep Rice
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
(907) 789-6020

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