EFFECTS OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY OIL SPILL ON SALT MARSHES OF THE LOWER BAY

A study to determine the effects of the Chesapeake Bay oil spill of Feb. 1976 and of the subsequent cleanup operations was conducted on the eastern shore of the bay. The primary objective was to assess the biological impact on the marshes at the population level. Populations of intertidal mussels, Modiolus demissus, and oysters, Crassostrea virginica, showed no significant short-term effects. The population of the snail, Littorina irrorata, was significantly reduced, but appears to be recovering well. The dominant marsh grass, Spartina alterniflora, showed increased productivity as measured by standing crop, increased density, decreased mean height, and increased flowering success. Hypotheses to explain these observations are discussed. The Impact of the spill on the marshes is thought to have been minimized by virtue of the relatively low toxicity of the oil, the time of year the spill occurred, and the comparatively high energy environment of the shoreline.

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 529-533

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00177087
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Pollution Abstracts
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Publication 4284
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 28 1978 12:00AM