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The effects of oil pollution on Antarctic benthic diatom communities over 5 years


Polmear, R and Stark, JS and Roberts, D and McMinn, A, The effects of oil pollution on Antarctic benthic diatom communities over 5 years, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 90, (1-2) pp. 33-40. ISSN 0025-326X (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.11.035


Although considered pristine, Antarctica has not been impervious to hydrocarbon pollution. Antarctica’s history is peppered with oil spills and numerous abandoned waste disposal sites. Both spill events and constant leakages contribute to previous and current sources of pollution into marine sediments. Here we compare the response of the benthic diatom communities over 5 years to exposure to a commonly used standard synthetic lubricant oil, an alternative lubricant marketed as more biodegradable, in comparison to a control treatment. Community composition varied significantly over time and between treatments with some high variability within contaminated treatments suggesting community stress. Both lubricants showed evidence of significant effects on community composition after 5 years even though total petroleum hydrocarbon reduction reached approximately 80% over this time period. It appears that even after 5 years toxicity remains high for both the standard and biodegradable lubricants revealing the temporal scale at which pollutants persist in Antarctica.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:hydrocarbon, biodegradable lubricant, benthic diatoms, Antarctica
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Polmear, R (Mr Robert Polmear)
UTAS Author:Roberts, D (Dr Donna Roberts)
UTAS Author:McMinn, A (Professor Andrew McMinn)
ID Code:97710
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2015-01-09
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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