Thesis jointly supervised by the University of La Rochelle. PhD jointly supervised by: Hélène Tomas-Guyon, UMR6250 LIENSs (LIttoral ENvironment and Societies) in La Rochelle
Committee: Thierry Caquet, Michel Warnau, Paco Bustamante, Eric Feunteun, Véronique Loizeau, Lionel Camus, Stéphane Le Floch
Abstract: Dispersant application is an oil spill response technique which accelerates the dispersion of petroleum from the sea surface into the water column by inducing the formation of oil droplets. In coastal areas this response technique is controversial since the low water depth reduces the dissemination of oil droplets and by the way increases the exposure of aquatic ecosystems to petroleum. To evaluate the toxicity of dispersant application in nearshore areas, an experimental approach was conducted. Juvenile of Liza sp. were exposed to three scenarios of contamination: (i) to chemically dispersed oil - simulating, in vivo, dispersant application ; (ii) to mechanically dispersed oil - simulating, in vivo, natural dispersion due to meteorological conditions ; (iii) to an undispersed oil slick simulating, in vivo, oil slick confinement as a response technique. Toxicity of each condition of exposure was evaluated through the mortality upon a group of individuals, through the swimming performance and the metabolic scope at the organism level, and through the measurement of biomarkers at the organ level.Comparison between an undispersed oil slick and a chemically dispersed oil slick shows that dispersant application induces an increase of the mortality and decreases the ability of the animal to cope with environmental contaminants (deduced from gill and liver total glutathione rate). Conversely, comparison between both a mechanically and a chemically dispersed oil slick, suggests that, when sea water is under mixing processes, dispersant application does not enhance petroleum toxicity. Taken together these results suggest that (i) an oil slick must not be dispersed when recovery can be conducted; (ii) dispersant application could be considered as a response technique when meteorological conditions are appropriated.
Bibliographical reference: www.cedre.fr/pmb/opac_css/index.php?lvl=notice_display&id=8547