SANTA BARBARA OIL SPILL: SHORT-TERM ANALYSES OF MACROPLANKTON AND FISH

Collections of deep and shallow macroplankton from the Santa Barbara Channel area of the 1969 spill and from the Santa Cruz Basin further offshore were compared with others from previous years for possible oil damage. Spring and summer collections from nearshore bottom communities of fishes and large invertebrates around kelp beds near the blowout area were compared with collections made either prior to the spill or form an extrinsic area. Because no noticeable fish kills followed the blowout, less obvious criteria of possible damage to the macroplankton and bottom communities were investigated: decreased species diversity, numerical evenness, and abundance; increased partchiness of species distributions; changes in community composition favoring the more tolerant species and correlations with amounts of oil and tar estimated on station. Most observed changes, changes, apparently unrelated to the spill, climatic anomalies during March through April 1969. The bottom-fish communities resembled their counterparts in "not oiled" environments; sampling bias and environmental heterogenity probably caused the observed minor differences in community structure. Larvae of common fishes and invertebrates were abundant in the offshore plankton. After the blowout, the composition and mode of the Channel Island sport fishery changed with seasonal trends and probably not as a direct effect of the spill. Of all subtidal events examined during the present short-term study, only the present short-term study, only the temporary dissappearance of tiny mysid shrimps inhabiting the Kelp canopy was a likely direct effect.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of California, Santa Barbara

    Santa Barbara, CA  USA 
  • Authors:
    • Ebeling, A W
    • Werner, W
    • DeWitt Jr, F A
    • Goilliet, G M
  • Publication Date: 1971-2

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00019655
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 1 1974 12:00AM