Sediment porewater toxicity assessment studies in the vicinity of offshore oil and gas production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico Academic Article uri icon


  • As part of a multidisciplinary program to assess the potential long-term impacts of offshore oil and gas exploration and production activities in the Gulf of Mexico, sediment chemical analyses and porewater toxicity tests were conducted in the vicinity of five offshore platforms. Based on data from sea urchin fertilization and embryological development assays, toxicity was observed near four of the five platforms sampled; the majority of the toxic samples were collected within 150 m of a platform. There was excellent agreement among the results of porewater tests with three different species (sea urchin embryological development, polychaete reproduction, and copepod nauplii survival). The sediment concentrations of several metals were well in excess of sediment quality assessment guidelines at a number of stations, and good agreement was observed between predicted and observed toxicity. Porewater metal concentrations compared with EC50, LOEC, and NOEC values generated for water-only exposures indicated that the porewater concentrations for several metals were high enough to account for the observed toxicity. Results of these studies utilizing highly sensitive toxicity tests suggest that the contaminant-induced impacts from offshore platforms are limited to a localized area in the immediate vicinity of the platforms. 1996 NRC.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Carr, R. S., Chapman, D. C., Presley, B. J., Biedenbach, J. M., Robertson, L., Boothe, P., ... Montagna, P.

complete list of authors

  • Carr, RS||Chapman, DC||Presley, BJ||Biedenbach, JM||Robertson, L||Boothe, P||Kilada, R||Wade, T||Montagna, P

publication date

  • January 1996