New research from UC Davis has shown that crude oil toxicity stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico damaged Gulf killifish for more than a year after the initial spill, the university reports.
Research shows that killifish embryos exposed to oil byproducts from 2010 and 2011 displayed developmental abnormalities including heart defects, delayed hatching and reduced hatching success. These findings are significant because killifish are classified as an environmental indicator species, which means their abnormalities might be indicative of widespread fish damage.
Researchers acknowledge that additional research is needed to determine if the killifish defects might impact future fish populations.
Image: Gulf killifish (Credit: Andrew Whitehead/UC Davis)