Sublethal Toxicity of Crude Oil Exposure in The Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus, at Two Life History Stages



The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred during peak spawning season for many Gulf of Mexico fish and invertebrates. Early life stages of important fishery species were at risk to encounter crude oil. In this study, we investigated the effect of crude oil exposure on two life stages of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus). We tested the effects of oil exposure on the survival and growth of larval (pelagic) and juvenile (estuarine) blue crabs as well as the effects of oil on the molt frequency of juveniles. Larval crabs exposed to crude oil showed no discernable growth or mortality differences when compared to non-exposed controls. Juvenile crabs exposed to oil also showed no differences in size but exhibited increased intermolt duration (time between molts). Our study suggests that different life-stages may respond differently when exposed to crude oil and that oil exposure negatively affects growth rate of juvenile blue crabs.


Gulf of Mexico Blue crabs Deepwater Horizon Petroleum exposure 



We thank Dr. Ed Chesney and Dr. Tara Duffy for their guidance in larval husbandry, general support and use of space and equipment at LUMCON. Research was made possible through funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (RFP II, PIs Neigel and Taylor).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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