Deepwater Horizon crude oil impacts the developing hearts of large predatory pelagic fish (PNAS)

“The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (MC252) disaster in the northern Gulf of Mexico released more than 4 million barrels of crude oil. Oil rose from the ocean floor to the surface where many large pelagic fish spawn. Here we describe the impacts of field-collected oil samples on the rapidly developing embryos of warm-water predators, including bluefin and yellowfin tunas and an amberjack. For each species, environmentally relevant MC252 oil exposures caused serious defects in heart development. Moreover, abnormalities in cardiac function were highly consistent, indicating a broadly conserved developmental crude oil cardiotoxicity. Losses of early life stages were therefore likely for Gulf populations of tunas, amberjack, swordfish, billfish, and other large predators that spawned in oiled surface habitats.”


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