Examining the role of intraspecific oyster diversity in response to oiling, dispersant, and salinity – a mesocosm study in September/October 2016


Oysters in the Gulf of Mexico were likely subjected to multiple stressors as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – those directly from the spill and those indirectly from the spill in the form of clean-up/response activities. The effect on oysters may have been influenced by the genetic diversity of oysters in the Gulf of Mexico. The data here are from a laboratory experiment assessing the effects of oil, dispersants, and salinity on oysters of varying genetic diversity. Diversity levels included monocultures of offspring from each of 5 different parental pairs and multiple polycultures of offspring from 2 and 3 different parental pairs. Oil exposures included no oiling (seawater only), oil, and oil with dispersant. Salinity regimes were either low (5–10 ppt) or control (15-20 ppt) salinity. Survival, growth and condition of juvenile oysters were assessed after 21 days of exposure. The mortality dataset reports the number of live and dead oysters counted for each experimental tank at the end of the experiment. The shell height dataset reports shell heights measured for a subset of 20 oysters from each treatment combination. The before and after condition datasets report the shell heights and multiple weights to be used for calculating oyster condition, both before the start of the experiment and again at the conclusion of the experiment. The water quality dataset reports the temperature and salinity in each of the experimental systems over the course of the 21 day experiment. Lastly, the TPH_PAH dataset reports the values of total petroleum hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the water of each experimental treatment over time.


The purpose of this manipulative mesocosm study was to evaluate how the genetic diversity of juvenile oysters plays a role in the resilience of oysters to the effects of multiple-stressors associated with oil spills and their response activities (i.e. oil, dispersants, fresh water input).

DOI: doi:10.7266/N7VQ30QZ

Suggested Citation

Meagan Shrandt, Sean Powers. 2017. Examining the role of intraspecific oyster diversity in response to oiling, dispersant, and salinity – a mesocosm study in September/October 2016. Distributed by: Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative (GRIIDC), Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. doi:10.7266/N7VQ30QZ

Related Publication Citation

Schrandt, M., Powers, S., Rikard, F. S., Thongda, W., & Peatman, E. (2018). Short-term low salinity mitigates effects of oil and dispersant on juvenile eastern oysters: A laboratory experiment with implications for oil spill response activities. PLOS ONE, 13(9), e0203485. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0203485

Funded by: Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)

Funding cycle: RFP-IV

Research group: Alabama Center for Ecological Resilience (ACER)

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Author Sean Powers
Maintainer data@disl.org
Last Updated October 25, 2022, 19:34 (UTC)
Created July 27, 2022, 14:35 (UTC)
DOI doi:10.7266/N7VQ30QZ
ISO.principalInvestigator Sean Powers <spowers@disl.org>
Theme Keywords Crassostrea virginica, Deepwater Horizon, freshwater diversion, dispersant