Dispersion and biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons are significantly enhanced by formation of oil-suspended particulate matter aggregates (OSAs), but little is known about their adverse effects on benthic invertebrates or microbes. In this study, we investigated: (1) bioaccumulation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by the marine bivalve, Mactra veneriformis and (2) changes in composition and relative abundances of microbes, during 50-d of an OSAs feeding experiment. Total concentrations of PAHs increased more rapidly during the first week of exposure, peaked at Day 30, then gradually declined to the end of experiment. While bioaccumulation of PAHs by clams varied among the 20 target compounds, two major groups of PAHs were identified by cluster analysis. One group including 3-methylphenanthrene, 1,6-dimethylphenanthrene, 1,2,6,9-tetramethylphenanthrene, and benzo[a]anthracene showed a fairly constant rate of accumulation, while the second group including 2-methyldibenzothiophene, 2,4-dimethyldibenzothiophene, 2,4,7-trimethyldibenzothiophene, 3-methylchrysene, 6-ethylchrysene, and 1,3,6-trimethylchrysene exhibited a bell-shaped pattern. Bioaccumulation of PAHs by clams was dependent on changes in abundance of Gammaproteobacteria, indicating active degradations of hydrocarbons by selected species. Six key species included: Porticoccus litoralis, Porticoccus hydrocarbonoclasticus, Cycloclasticus spirillensus, Alcanivorax borkumensis, Alcanivorax dieselolei, and Alkalimarinus sediminis. These results are the first to demonstrate interactions of OSAs and macrofauna/microbe in oil cleanup operations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry