Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

Toxicity of two representative petroleum hydrocarbons, toluene and phenanthrene, to five Atlantic coral species



Document Type


Publication Title

Marine Pollution Bulletin



Publication Date



Marine toxicity tests, Corals, Aromatic hydrocarbons, Passive dosing, Target lipid model, Time-dependence


Coral reefs are keystone coastal ecosystems that can be exposed to petroleum hydrocarbons from multiple sources, and when selecting spill response methods to limit environmental damages, corals represent one of the highest valued resources for protection. Because previous research to characterize the sensitivity of coral species to petroleum hydrocarbon exposures is limited, a continuous-flow passive dosing system and toxicity testing protocol was designed to evaluate the acute effects of two representative petroleum compounds, toluene and phenanthrene, on five coral species: Acropora cervicornis, Porites astreoides, Siderastera siderea, Stephanocoenia intersepta, and Solenastrea bournoni. Using analytically confirmed exposures, sublethal and lethal endpoints were calculated for each species, and used as model inputs to determine critical target lipid body burdens (CTLBBs) for characterizing species sensitivity. Further, quantification of the time-dependent toxicity of single hydrocarbon exposures is described to provide model inputs for improved simulation of spill impacts to corals in coastal tropical environments.





First Page



© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Additional Comments

This research was made possible by a grant from The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, as part of project Coral-Tox: A Species-Sensitivity Assessment of Petroleum Hydrocarbon Toxicity to Scleractinian Corals. We thank D. Bickham, J. Pitschmann, M. Rojano, E. Whitemiller, and E. Young for their assistance with the experiments, and N. Soares-Quinete at FIU for the analysis of phenanthrene. We particularly thank P. Schuler for his support, expertise and advice throughout the development and execution of this project. Experimental corals were collected and retained under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Special Activity License #SAL-18-1994-SRP.

This document is currently not available here.

Peer Reviewed

Find in your library