The Environmental Effects of an Oil Spill on Blue Crabs in the Gulf of Mexico and the Dynamics of Recovery: Integrating Oceanography and Molecular Ecology
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) Grant Program
Human and/or Institutional Capacity
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 occurred during the critical spawning season of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, a commercially and ecologically important species in the Gulf of Mexico. The eggs of the blue crab hatch into small planktonic larvae that spend weeks feeding in offshore waters. When they complete their larval phase, they move into shallower waters, settle to the bottom, and begin developing into juvenile crabs. Laboratory studies have shown that gulf oil and the dispersant used to accelerate the breakdown of the oil are highly toxic to blue crab larvae.