Meiofauna communities in exposed sandy beaches on the Galician coast (NW Spain), six months after the Prestige oil spill: the role of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Puri Veiga, Celia Besteiro and Marcos Rubal

The effect of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on Galician sandy beach ecosystems, six months after the Prestige oil spill, was evaluated using the meiobenthos at a higher taxon level as an indicator. Meiobenthos community structure, environmental variables and sediment PAH content from six affected exposed beaches were studied and compared with three reference sites. They were also compared with data from polluted beaches obtained during the first days of the spill. Significant amounts of PAHs were found in affected beach sediments and both univariate and multivariate analyses showed differences between affected and reference beaches. Correlation analyses between PAH content and the meiobenthos community structure showed that 1,2-dimethylnaphthalene (C2-NAPH) and 1-methylphenanthrene (C-PHEN) affected both the community structure and the abundance of the main taxa. These two PAHs seem to be responsible for the low meiofauna density values, which suggests that there is a relationship between the oil spill and the differences between affected and reference localities.

Keywords: oil spill, Prestige, beach, meiobenthos, 1,2-dimethylnaphthalene, 1-methylphenanthrene, multivariate analysis
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 74(2) : 385-394 Back PDF
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