Rates of depletion of lubricant and fuel contaminants from Antarctic regions during natural attenuation and remediation procedures
Metadata record for data expected from ASAC Project 2915
See the link below for public details on this project.
Petroleum contamination poses a major threat to Antarctic and subantarctic ecosystems because diesel and lubricants are persistent and, at poorly defined concentrations, are toxic in marine environments. This project will asses how quickly important components in these products are ... naturally depleted using a model field experiment. We will identify and quantify the non-degrading portions of the fuels, and assess the longevity and rate of removal of these. We will relate the chemical analysis data with biological data on organisms in the sea-bottom sediments, in order to assess which components of the fuels do most harm to the organisms.
The overall objective is to better understand the long-term environmental impact of spilled petroleum products in Antarctic marine systems.
Decades of Antarctic exploration have left a significant legacy of petroleum pollution on-land and in nearshore marine environments, particularly around human stations. The natural attenuation of spilled diesel and lubricants occurs slowly in cold climates, particularly once the pollutants have adsorbed onto marine sediments. Major programmes funded by the AAD have identified the location of spills, and the nature and fate of some of the pollutants. This project will address some of the significant uncertainties which still exist regarding the natural depletion and ecotoxicological impact of spilled diesel and lubricants in the marine environment. A new PhD student at Macquarie University will carry-out much of this work, in collaboration with the CI and investigators. The specific objectives are:
1. To develop a quantitative method using cutting edge two-dimensional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS) to identify the components of spilled diesel and lubricants, especially the complex mixtures of recalcitrant residues and the secondary products of alteration.
2. To calculate the rates of removal of pollutants in the marine environment by comprehensive statistical treatment of the chemical data-set, and to assess the processes by which this removal occurs (e.g. aerobic/anaerobic biodegradation, water-washing, etc).
3. To assess the degradation rates and longevity of pollutant components against the biology of the disturbed communities of microbes and microfauna in the same experiments, so as to form a hypothesis of which components of the complex mixtures have the most important ecotoxicological response and environment impact.
4. Using the most important single isolated or related groups of components, to test the specific ecotoxicological impact of each in the marine environment using a short-term field experiment and laboratory toxicity tests.
Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report:
Progress against objectives:
1. A GCxGC-FID was installed at Macquarie University. No TOFMS has been purchased yet, due to non-funding of ARC Lief grant application. No further progress made towards this objective.
2. We have a comprehensive dataset now of the rates of removal of hydrocarbon components of SAB from the SRE4 experiment. Detailed GC-MS has been carried out so as to track removal of components in much more detail than can be achieved by GC-FID alone. TPH data have been calculated. The data has been utilised in the draft of one paper by Shane Powell (Powell, Stark, Snape, Woolfenden, Bowman, Riddle; Effects of diesel and lubricant oils on Antarctic benthic microbial communities over five years) which has not been submitted yet, and in an early draft of a paper by PhD student Ellen Woolfenden (E. N. M. Woolfenden, G. Hince, S. Powell, S. Stark, J. Stark, I. Snape, S. George; Effects of diesel and lubricant oils on Antarctic benthic microbial communities over five years).
3. This has partly been done, and is being written up by the Powell et al. paper referred to above. Detailed analysis of which are the most toxic compounds of SAB awaits further work-up of the data.
4. The field season to carry out this test was postponed from 08/09 to 09/10.
Taken from the 2009-2010 Progress Report:
Progress against objectives:
1. An ARC LIEF grant application was successful and a TOFMS will be purchased from the funds gained in mid 2010.
2. So far the 0-1cm of 10cm cores of marine sediment spiked with Biodegradable lubricant, used lubricant, clean lubricant and Special Antarctic Blend (SAB) diesel have been analysed by gas chromatography coupled to a flame ionisation detector (GC-FID). Analyses by GC-FID allowed the Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH) concentration at each sample time to be calculated from statistical analysis. Further analyses were performed on the SAB sediments extractions by GC-MS (mass spectrometry). The chromatograms of the extractions were compared with chromatograms of standard mixtures of compounds and a compound identification library and thus, peaks were identified. From this peak identification, degradation patterns of compounds and groups of compounds could be seen; naphthalenes degrade less readily with increasing methyl groups but still degrade more readily than n-alkanes. From the analyses of the 0-1cm sediment extractions the most recalcitrant compounds were (adamantanes and diamantanes) and the most water soluble compounds were (naphthalenes and alkylnaphthalenes) in SAB diesel. The data has been written up in a draft paper by PhD student Ellen Woolfenden (E. N. M. Woolfenden, G. Hince, S. Powell, S. Stark, J. Stark, I. Snape, S. George; Effects of diesel and lubricant oils on Antarctic benthic microbial communities over five years). This paper will be submitted by May 2010.
We also have started analysing the depth profiles for SAB in the SRE4 experiment. It is interesting to know as to whether any biodegradation patterns will be seen in the 1-10 cm depths of the sediment. Therefore the cores have been sectioned into 1 cm intervals and extracted at AAD. The extractions are awaiting analysis by GC-FID initially and GC-MS for further analysis.
3. This has partly been done, and is being written up by a Shane Powell et al. paper, that has not been published yet. Detailed analysis of which are the most toxic compounds of SAB awaits further work-up of the data.
4. The field season to carry out this test was carried out by Ellen Woolfenden in fieldseason 09/10. Samples have been collected and are stored at AAD. Marine sediment was collected and different portions were spiked with certain compounds from each of these groups as well as a selection of n-alkanes and SAB diesel as a comparison. These sediments have been extracted and are awaiting analysis by GC-MS to identify which of the compounds are depleted most readily within the experimental groups without the influence of other compounds present in SAB diesel. Ellen will be analysing them later in 2010.
The dataset provided by Ellen Woolfenden contain a number of excel spreadsheets, as well as a word document providing further information about the data.
To examine the degradation of hydrocarbons in marine sediments.
Download point for the data
(Click for Interactive Map)
Data Set Citation
Dataset Release Date:
A preliminary trial indicated that whole plants attached to lines created too much drag for anchors, hence holdfasts were separated from fronds and tethered at the sea surface to anchored buoys. This process was undertaken on 20 November 1987, with four of the tethered holdfasts collected for faunal analysis the next day. Two holdfasts were lost to wave action during the study, with the remaining ... two holdfasts collected after 93 days afloat. Holdfasts (4 replicates) were also collected as faunal controls from the shore at the start (20 November 1987) and end of the experiment (21 February 1988).
In order to assess whether recruitment was occurring on tethered holdfasts, four replicate holdfasts were defaunated by submersion in freshwater for 10 minutes at the start of the experiment before offshore tethering (see Edgar 1992). Two of these recruitment control holdfasts were lost through wave action and two collected at the end of the experiment. On collection, all holdfasts were carefully placed into plastic bags and formalin added. Animals were later separated from holdfasts in the laboratory by pouring the washed contents of the bags through a 0.5 mm sieve after the holdfast had been broken apart, and animals retained by the sieve counted under a binocular microscope using the same methods as for artificial algal habitats.
The data are available for download from the url given below. The data are available in a word document (actually a copy of the referenced paper).
Data Set Progress
+61 3 6226 7632
+61 3 6226 2745
g.edgar at utas.edu.au
GPO BOX 252-05
University of Tasmania
Province or State:
Edgar, G.J. and H.R. Burton, 2000. The biogeography of shallow-water macrofauna at Heard Island. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm., Vol. 133 (2), 23-26
Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date:
Last DIF Revision Date: