Impact of oil spill and posterior clean-up activities on wrack-living talitrid amphipods on estuarine beaches


A geomorphological and faunistic seasonal study of six estuarine beaches on Paranaguá Bay, Brazil, was abruptly interrupted when the Chilean ship "Vicuña" exploded and sank, spilling 291 tons of bunker fuel oil. The beaches sampled twice before the accident were affected by the oil spill deposition and the posterior clean-up activities. Neither drastic reduction in abundances nor occurrences of oil-covered individuals were registered. Significant variation in both amount of debris and talitrid amphipod densities was directly related to beach clean-up activities. A short (1-3 month) manual clean-up of polluted wrack resulted in an increase in talitrid abundances, with the local distribution expansion of one species, Platorchestia monodi, from three to six of the beaches sampled. The active migration and concentration of organisms at sites without wrack during cleaning activities and a massive and continuous recovery of new debris, characteristic of estuarine beaches, may contribute to the findings.

Oil spill; Estuarine beach; Talitrid amphipods; Wrack clean-up

Um estudo sazonal da geomorfologia e fauna de seis praias estuarinas na baia de Paranaguá, Brasil, foi interrompido bruscamente pela explosão e posterior afundamento do navio chileno Vicuña, que derramou 291 toneladas de óleo bunker. As praias que foram afetadas pela deposição de óleo e pelas posteriores atividades de limpeza, tinham sido amostradas duas vezes antes do acidente. Nas coletas posteriores ao acidente não foram registradas nem reduções drásticas das abundâncias nem indivíduos impregnados por óleo. As significativas variações tanto da quantidade de detrito quanto nas densidades de anfipodes talitrídeos foram relacionadas às atividades de limpeza. Uma limpeza manual e de curta duração (1 a 3 meses) resultou num aumento das abundâncias dos talitrídeos, juntamente com o aumento da distribuição de uma das espécies, Platorchestia monodi, que de três passou a ser encontrada em seis praias amostradas.Os fatores que contribuíram para estes resultados foram, por um lado, a migração ativa e a concentração de organismos em locais sem detrito durante as atividades de limpeza, e por outro, o contínuo aporte de novo detrito característico das praias estuarinas.

Derrame de óleo; Praia estuarina; Anfipode talitrideo; Limpeza de detrito

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    15 Jan 2010
  • Date of issue
    Dec 2009


  • Received
    19 Feb 2009
  • Reviewed
    15 June 2009
  • Accepted
    17 June 2009
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