Protocols for Subtidal and Deep-Sea Benthic Oil Spill Simulations
In addition to weathering, physical interactions between oil and suspended particulate matter play a role in the dispersal and sedimentation of spilled oil in marine ecosystems. In coastal regions characterized by high concentrations of suspended particulate material, up to 30% of the total spill may reach the seafloor where the oil can interact with biological and chemical sedimentary processes. Simulating and understanding the effects and dynamics of spilled oil in subtidal and deeper sediments represents a challenge in microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. However, setting up and monitoring experimental devices in areas permanently covered with seawater is indeed more complicated than in intertidal areas because the access is limited and requires adapted equipment. Here, we describe simple but efficient protocols for subtidal benthic oil spill simulation based on the use of plastic corers, as well as the characteristics of a benthic device enabling the in situ incubation of oiled deep-sea sediments. Associated logistic efforts and requirements are also presented.
Keywords:Benthic incubation device Biodegradation Bioturbation Oil dynamics Plastic corers
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