Analysis of the Effects of the Deepwater Spill on Study Species in the

ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF THE DEEPWATER SPILL ON STUDY SPECIES IN THE GULF OF MEXICO 4

Analysis ofthe Effects of the Deepwater Spill on Study Species in the Gulf ofMexico

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Analysis of the Effects of theDeepwater Spill on Study Species in the Gulf of Mexico

According toresearch conducted by Urakawa et al., (2012) the oil spill in the(GOM) Gulf of Mexico had diverse effects on aquatic organisms mainlybacteria and archaea. The study revealed that after the spill, thepresence of Nitrosopumilus maritimus did not indicate any significantincrease in number. That indicated that the oil spill had no effecton the archaea. Urakawa also noted that Nitrosopumilus maritimusshowed 20% inhibition at 1 part per billion. The inhibition was anindication of Nitrosopumilus maritimus`s sensitivity to petroleum,which meant that the species was more susceptible to being affectedby hydrocarbons in the oil spill. As a result, there is a fear of ashift in dominance from archaeal population to bacterial population,which would alter trophic interactions.

In a separatestudy by Marks (2013), he concluded that oil has adverse effects onarchaeal communities. He observed that archaea, especiallyNitrosopumilus was undetected in sand samples in which oil was added.Oil was also observed to have toxic effects on how Nitrosopumilusproduces nitrates. Another study by Stephene et al., (1999) concludedthat the presence of Nitrosopumilus archaea could be used to indicaterecovery of an ecosystem from oil contamination (Marks, 2013)

As contrastedwith archaeal population being affected by the oil spill in the GOM,bacterial populations in the same area seemed to thrive. According toUrakawa, bacterial population increased by a factor of more than 2,from an approximate value of 2.7×10^4 cells/mL to 5.5×10^4 cells/mL(Hazen et al., 2010). That indicated that bacterial populationincreased probably because the organisms fed on hydrocarbons in theoil (Chakraborty et al., 2012).

From the factthat the population of Nitrosopumilus maritimus showed no significantincrease and the organisms showed some sensitivity to and inhibitionat 1ppB, while bacterial population in the plume doubled within a fewmonths of the oil spill, it would be safe to conclude that archaealpopulation appeared to be less affected by the spill. Nitrosococcusoceaniwasthe most affected by the oil spill as indicated by the doubling inthe bacterial population.

Survivalbetween Nitrosopumilus maritimus and Nitrosococcus Oceani Basing ontheir Metabolism

Although bothNitrosopumilus maritimus and Nitrosococcus oceani metabolize ammoniumto convert it into nitrates, hence helping in the circulation ofnitrogen in the atmosphere and other ecosystems, Nitrosococcus oceanialso has the ability to metabolize methane. Methane is ahydrocarbon-based compound implying that Nitrosococcus Oceani wouldstand a better chance of surviving in an environment with anabundance of hydrocarbon such as the Gulf of Mexico after the oilspill (Jones &amp Morita, 1983).

Influenceof Crude Oil on Thunnus Thynnus (Atlantic Bluefin Tuna)

The oil spillin the Gulf of Mexico is destined to affect all stages of the BluefinTuna in the region. However, the effect is expected to be highest oneggs and the larval stages of the fish. Bluefin tuna goes into theGulf of Mexico to breed because it has the best conditions forbreeding. With the oil spill, eggs and larvae will be pushed deeperinto the water to depths they are less likely to survive(GrrlScientist, 2010). Additionally, components in petroleum oil suchas hydrocarbons affect the heart of larval and growing fish.

With theyoung fish and eggs being killed by the oil spill, the area is likelyto lack fish in the coming years due to reduced breeding and probableextinction of the breed in the Atlantic Ocean. The area reliessubstantially on fishing as one of the major economic activitiespracticed by the locals. Now with no fish in the Ocean, the area willhave reduced economic activities translating into poverty and poorinfrastructure. People are also likely to move away to search forbetter fishing waters, leaving the area economically devastated.

The cardiacsystem is similar in all vertebrates and as such, similar effectscaused by petroleum oil on fish are expected to be registered inhuman beings. At this point, researchers ask the question “Dopetroleum exhausts emitted by vehicle engines affect our cardiacperformance?” It is highly likely (Amos, 2014).

Recommendations forRemediation

I do not think that geneticallyengineering a prokaryote to remediate the GOM spill is the way to gobecause genetically engineered organisms are bound to mutate in thelong run and result in unexpected issues. One of the most fearedresults is that the mutants can start to feed on other marine life.Most researchers have also found that modified organisms cannot bemore effective that natural ones.

On the otherhand, genetically engineered organisms can work faster and remediatelarger areas (Biello, 2010). Plasmid would be the target of theengineering (Hain &amp Wambaugh, 2000).

Nitrosococcus oceani would bebetter suited for transformation because since it already consumeshydrocarbons, that ability can be enhanced.

  1. References

Amos. (2014). TunaHearts `affected by oil spill`.Retrieved 6/12/14 fromhttp://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26184116

Biello.(2010). Slick Solution: HowMicrobes Will Clean up the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.Retrieved6/12/14 fromhttp://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-microbes-clean-up-oil-spills/

Chakraborty, Borglin, Dubinsky,Andersen, % Hazen. (2012). Microbial Response to the MC-252 Oil andCorexit 9500 in the Gulf of Mexico. Retrieved 6/12/14 fromhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23087678

GrrlScientist. (2010). Gulf OilSpill Disaster: Spawnof the Living Dead for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.Retrieved 6/12/14 fromhttp://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/06/09/atlantic-bluefin-tuna-oil-spil/

Hain&amp Wambaugh. (2000). New Template. Retrieved 6/12/14 fromhttp://plantandsoil.unl.edu/pages/animation.php?a=making_a_recombinant_plasmid.swf&ampb=1003514583

Jones, R. D., &amp Morita, R. Y.(1983). Methane oxidation by Nitrosococcus Oceanus and Nitrosomonaseuropaea. Applied andEnvironmental Microbiology,45(2),401-410.

Marks, K. (2013). Effects of theDeepwater Horizon oil spill on indigenous microbial communities inPensacola Beach sands.