Environmental Management

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 537–562

An ecosystem perspective on potential impacts of drilling fluid discharges on seagrasses

  • John R. Kelly
  • Thomas W. Duke
  • Mark A. Harwell
  • Christine C. Harwell
Research

DOI: 10.1007/BF01867661

Cite this article as:
Kelly, J.R., Duke, T.W., Harwell, M.A. et al. Environmental Management (1987) 11: 537. doi:10.1007/BF01867661

Abstract

Potential effects of oil drilling fluid discharges uponThalassia seagrass ecosystems were examined using seagrass core microcosms. Observed experimental effects, summarized in this article, included changes in both autotrophic (Thalassia and epiphyte) and heterotrophic (dominant benthic macroinvertebrates) species, and the processes of primary productivity and decomposition. The physical disturbance related to greater turbidity and sedimentation caused some effects, while others seemed a direct response to the toxic constituents of drilling fluids. Using these experimental results and the case ofThalassia and drilling fluids as a case study, we explore general methodological and philosophical issues for ecotoxicology and, furthermore, focus upon the challenge of providing a scientific basis for judging acceptability of environmental changes likely to ensue from human activities.

Key words

SeagrassDrilling FluidsEcotoxicologyRisk assessment

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Kelly
    • 1
  • Thomas W. Duke
    • 2
  • Mark A. Harwell
    • 2
  • Christine C. Harwell
    • 2
  1. 1.Ecosystems Research Center Corson HallCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Research LaboratoryUS Environmental Protection AgencyGulf BreezeUSA