The Effects Of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons On The Organ System Of Aquatic Invertebrates
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What are the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on the organ systems of aquatic invertebrates?
A study in Biology
Dusty Vincer, Advisor
by Shruti Gajbhiye
During the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill, millions of gallons of oil were dispersed in the Gulf of Mexico in the same area known as the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone. The hypoxic zone along the Gulf Coast contains less than the normal amount of dissolved oxygen, at two parts per million. The little to no oxygen is theorized to be caused by excess nutrients from the Mississippi River along with the stratification of the Gulf waters. The excess nutrients create a growth of primary consumers and when decomposing at the bottom, uses the oxygen. The layering of the water does not allow for the water to mix the top and bottom layers, leaving a lack of oxygen at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone and an oxygen-plenty top layer. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the petroleum, generally accepted to have mutagenic and carcinogenic effects, and are mainly from anthropogenic sources and are considered environmental pollutants. The nonpolar organic molecular are insoluble in the water, and are considered to be of utmost importance in terms of environmental hazards. The combination of the burning of petroleum on the top of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone created a deadly effect, as evidenced by the several deaths of animals and an unbalanced food web as secondary and tertiary consumers died