Impact of DWH oil spill on Spartina alterniflora in the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, June 2015- September 2016

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Biodiversity, whether functional, taxonomic, or genetic, can influence a range of marine ecosystem services such as productivity and resource utilization. Theory predicts that the effects of diversity on ecosystem function may be strongest in the presence of disturbance or changing environmental conditions (e.g., the insurance effect). This positive effect of diversity on resistance and stability is particularly clear in marine salt marsh plants and seagrasses. The Chandeleur Islands provide a natural setting to investigate the inter-relationship between oiling disturbance and biodiversity in coastal ecosystems because areas in close proximity varied in their exposure to oil from the DWH spill.


We sampled across sites that varied in exposure to oiling to characterize the relationships among (a) taxonomic diversity and (b) oil exposure. We surveyed natural assemblages of marsh plants only (Spartina alterniflora), mangroves only (Avicennia germinans), and marsh plants and mangroves (Spartina and Avicennia). We will repeat the survey at the beginning and end of the growing season for two years to examine temporal variation in ecosystem responses.

DOI: doi:10.7266/N7QJ7FBZ

Suggested Citation

Hughes, Randall. 2016. Impact of DWH oil spill on Spartina alterniflora in the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana, June 2015- September 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/N7QJ7FBZ

Funded by: Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)

Funding cycle: RFP-IV

Research group: Alabama Center for Ecological Resilience (ACER)

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Additional Info

Field Value
Author Randall Anne Hughes
Last Updated October 25, 2022, 19:34 (UTC)
Created July 27, 2022, 14:35 (UTC)
DOI doi:10.7266/N7QJ7FBZ
ISO.principalInvestigator Randall Anne Hughes <>
Place Keywords Gulf of Mexico, Chandeleur Islands
Temporal Begin 2015-06-29
Temporal End 2016-09-17
Theme Keywords Spartina alterniflora, DWH oil spill, plant community, marsh, mangrove, Avicenna germinans, plant diversity
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