The impact of dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorous on responses of microbial plankton to the Texas City "Y" oil spill in Galveston Bay, Texas (USA). Academic Article uri icon


  • Ongoing bioremediation research seeks to promote naturally occurring microbial polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) degradation during and after oil spill events. However, complex relationships among functionally different microbial groups, nutrients and PAHs remain unconstrained. We conducted a surface water survey and corresponding nutrient amendment bioassays following the Texas City "Y" oil spill in Galveston Bay, Texas. Resident microbial groups, defined as either heterotrophic or autotrophic were enumerated by flow cytometry. Heterotrophic abundance was increased by oil regardless of nutrient concentrations. Contrastingly, autotrophic abundance was inhibited by oil, but this reaction was less severe when nutrient concentrations were higher. Several PAH compounds were reduced in nutrient amended treatments relative to controls suggesting nutrient enhanced microbial PAH processing. These findings provide a first-look at nutrient limitation during microbial oil processing in Galveston Bay, an important step in understanding if nutrient additions would be a useful bioremediation strategy in this and other estuarine systems.

published proceedings

  • Mar Pollut Bull

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Williams, A. K., Bacosa, H. P., & Quigg, A.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • Williams, Alicia K||Bacosa, Hernando P||Quigg, Antonietta

publication date

  • January 2017