Benthic Faunal Baselines in the Gulf of Mexico: A Precursor to Evaluate Future Impacts

  • Patrick T. SchwingEmail author
  • Paul A. Montagna
  • Maria Luisa Machain-Castillo
  • Elva Escobar-Briones
  • Melissa Rohal


This chapter provides a comparison between recently developed, post-oil spill baseline measurements throughout the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and previous, pre-oil spill baselines for benthic foraminifera, meiofauna, and macrofauna for areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon (2010) and Ixtoc 1 (1979–1980) oil spills. This comparison will provide two primary outcomes: (1) assessment of any lasting changes in benthic faunal assemblages caused by the Deepwater Horizon and Ixtoc 1 oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and (2) augmentation of pre-oil spill baselines or establishment of “new normal” post-oil spill baseline measurements that can be utilized to quantitatively assess impact, response, and recovery of benthic fauna in the event of a future oil spill.


Benthic Foraminifera Macrofauna Meiofauna Oil spill MOSSFA Deepwater Horizon Ixtoc 1 Baseline 



This research was made possible in part by a grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, C-IMAGE and DEEP-C, and in part by the British Petroleum/Florida Institute of Oceanography (BP/FIO)-Gulf Oil Spill Prevention, Response, and Recovery Grants Program. The authors also thank Bryan O’Malley for his assistance with laboratory analyses. Data are publicly available through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC) at, UDI: R6.x805.000:0061, R6.x805.000:0062, DOI: 10.7266/n7-q3gc-ax92, DOI: 10.7266/n7-e90r-1v29, DOI: 10.7266/n7-repn-q515.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick T. Schwing
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul A. Montagna
    • 2
  • Maria Luisa Machain-Castillo
    • 3
  • Elva Escobar-Briones
    • 3
  • Melissa Rohal
    • 2
  1. 1.University of South Florida, College of Marine ScienceSt. PetersburgUSA
  2. 2.Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico StudiesCorpus ChristiUSA
  3. 3.Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaMexico CityMexico

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