The impact of exposure timing on embryo mortality and the partitioning of PAHs when cod eggs are exposed to dispersed and dissolved crude oil
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 2022, 229 . 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.113100
During sub-sea oil spills to the marine environment, oil droplets will rise towards the sea surface at a rate determined by their density and diameter as well as the vertical turbulence in the water. Micro-droplets (< 50 µm) are expected to have prolonged residence times in the water column. If present, pelagic fish eggs may thus be exposed to dispersed oil from subsurface oil spills for days, and the contribution of these micro-droplets to toxicity is not well known. The purpose of this work was to investigate to what extent timing of exposure and the presence of oil micro droplets affects PAH uptake and survival of pelagic Atlantic cod eggs. A single batch of eggs was separated in two groups and exposed to dispersions and corresponding water-soluble fraction at 3–7 days (Early exposure) and 9–13 days (Late exposure) post fertilization. Partitioning of PAHs between crude oil microdroplets, water and eggs was estimated as well as the contribution of oil droplets to PAH body residue and acute and delayed mortality. Timing of oil exposure clearly affects both the mortality rate and the timing of mortality. Even though the body residue of PAHs were lower when embryos were exposed in the later embryonic stage, mortality rate increased relative to the early exposure indicating that critical body residue threshold is stage specific. Although our results suggest that the dissolved fraction is the dominating driver for toxicity in cod embryos exposed to oil dispersions, crude oil micro droplets contribute to increased mortality as well.