Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Zachary Watkins, Mcdaniel College

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Levels of PAHs in Marine Biofouling Organisms Attached to Oil Rigs in the Gulf of Mexico


The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was a tragedy resulting in multiple people losing their lives and millions of gallons of oil being leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. This spilled oil contained compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are known for their toxicity, specifically, their carcinogenic properties. In this study, Orange Cup Coral and Crested Oysters were collected from oil rigs located around the oil spill on two different sampling dates after the oil well was capped. These samples were analyzed for their concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Results were then compared through temporal and spatial analyses to determine where the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were originating.