Capstone Title

The Effect of PAH’S, POP’S and Heavy Metals on Coastal Zooplankton (Copepods, Crab Zoea, Shrimp Megalopes)

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Second Advisor

Stefan Schmidt


It is important that resources be allocated to study the biochemical interaction of PAH’S and the marine ecosystems. A major reason being the south Florida waters are subjected to potential PAH inputs from the Gulf of Mexico via oilrig accidents, as well as surface runoff and atmospheric combustion. Through legislation such as house bill (H.R.1231) also known as the bill that reverses President Obama’s Offshore drilling moratorium act and house bill (H.R.6082), in the near future there is a potential for increased offshore drilling leases in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. In conjunction these house bills allow for 28 offshore drilling leases through 2017. The greater understanding of how different concentrations of a PAH effect the targeted coastal zooplankton can lead to improved recovery times and mediation techniques. An oil spill that occurred at a Nigerian refinery covered 4 of a near by mangrove ecosystem. In 4 out of the 12 sampling stations all the macrobenthic and plant species had been killed off from fire/oil contamination. After the first three months PAH’S in the mangrove sediments decreased from 3.67 to 0.42 mg/kg. Total hydrocarbon Levels as well as biological parameters displayed that after 2 and a half months of rehabilitation, ecosystem recovery was beginning to take place. Recovery and rehabilitation of marine ecosystems vary on a case to case basis, and for organisms like mussels it has been shown that differences in the environmental and geographical condition can also play role in how PAH’S are relieved from mussel’s tissue.

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