Comparing Ecosystem Model Outcomes Between Ixtoc 1 and Deepwater Horizon Oil Spills

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Book Chapter

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Atlantis ecosystem model, Ixtoc 1, Fish mortality, Fish biomass

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A spatially explicit biogeochemical Atlantis ecosystem model of the southern Gulf of Mexico was developed to simulate impacts from the Ixtoc 1 oil spill. Oil dispersion and concentration were estimated from satellite imagery and reported flow rates and a dose-response model applied to estimate impact on fish growth and mortality rates. Effects estimated for the Ixtoc 1 spill were compared with previously reported Atlantis ecological model simulations of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) effects on the biomass of eight fish guilds. Biomass decreased sharply after the oil spill in both scenarios, compared to no-oil simulations, reaching minimum values within less than 2 years for most fish guilds. At the end of the 37-year simulation period, all fish guilds recovered to within 95% of the biomass of no-oil simulation for DWH, while all but one guild in the Ixtoc 1 simulation reached new equilibrium at less than 95% of the no-oil biomass. Comparison of the two oil spill simulations highlighted the important roles of starvation and juvenile mortality on fish stock biomass decrease.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Comparing Ecosystem Model Outcomes Between Ixtoc 1 and Deepwater Horizon Oil Spills, in S. A. Murawski, C. H. Ainsworth, S. Gilbert, D. J. Hollander, C. B. Paris, M. Schlüter & D. L. Wetzel (Eds.), Deep Oil Spills Facts, Fate, and Effects, Springer, p. 551-568