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The Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster resulted in crude oil contamination along the Gulf coast in sensitive estuaries. Toxicity from exposure to crude oil can affect populations of fish that live or breed in oiled habitats as seen following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In an ongoing study of the effects of Deepwater Horizon crude oil on fish, Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) were collected from an oiled site (Grande Terre, LA) and two reference locations (coastal MS and AL) and monitored for measures of exposure to crude oil. Killifish collected from Grande Terre had divergent gene expression in the liver and gill tissue coincident with the arrival of contaminating oil and up-regulation of cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) protein in gill, liver, intestine, and head kidney for over one year following peak landfall of oil (August 2011) compared to fish collected from reference sites. Furthermore, laboratory exposures of Gulf killifish embryos to field-collected sediments from Grande Terre and Barataria Bay, LA, also resulted in increased CYP1A and developmental abnormalities when exposed to sediments collected from oiled sites compared to exposure to sediments collected from a reference site. These data are predictive of population-level impacts in fish exposed to sediments from oiled locations along the Gulf of Mexico coast. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

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Environmental Science and Technology

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