The impact of oil-derived products on the behaviour and biochemistry of the eleven-armed asteroid Coscinasterias muricata (Echinodermata)

E. T. Georgiades, D. A. Holdway, S. E. Brennan, J. S. Butty, A. Temara

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The present study examines the impact of exposure to oil-derived products on the behaviour and physiology of the Australian 11-armed asteroid Coscinasterias muricata.Asteroids were exposed to dilutions of water-accommodated fraction (WAF) of Bass Strait stabilised crude oil, dispersed oil or burnt oil (n=8) for 4 days whereby, prey-localisation behaviour was examined immediately after exposure, and following 2, 7, and 14 days depuration in clean seawater. The prey-localisation behaviour of asteroids exposed to WAF and dispersed oil was significantly affected though recovery was apparent following 7 and 14 days depuration, respectively. In contrast, there was no significant change in the prey-localisation behaviour of asteroids exposed to burnt oil. Behavioural impacts were correlated with the total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations (C6-C36) in each exposure solution, WAF (1.8 mg 1-l), dispersed oil (3.5 mg l-1) and burnt oil (1.14 mg l-1), respectively. The total microsomal cytochrome P450 content was significantly lower (PDunnett testANOVA=0.11). This study further documents the deleterious impact of dispersed oil to marine organisms and supports further research in the area of in situ burning as a less damaging oil spill response measure towards benthic macro-invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-276
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Asteroids
  • Behaviour
  • Biomarker
  • Chemoreception
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Hydrocarbons

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