Dissolved/dispersed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon spatial and temporal changes in the Western Gulf of Mexico Academic Article uri icon


  • Oil extraction and transport activities in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), along with major marine oil spills and riverine inputs, are exerting environmental pressure on this system by increasing the concentration of oil-related pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). To fully identify these changes related to oil activities, current PAH levels should be established. Here, we present the PAH concentration and the low molecular weight/high molecular weight (LMW/HMW) ratios obtained in the Perdido Fold Belt area in surface and bottom water at four cruises from May 2016 to September 2017. The Perdido 1 (P1) cruise was conducted in May 2016, the Perdido 2 (P2) cruise in SeptemberOctober 2016, the Perdido 3 (P3) cruise in June 2017, and the Perdido 4 (P4) cruise in September 2017. Samples were taken during each cruise at up to 3,500-m depth, the deepest ever recorded for the GoM. Results show that the highest concentrations of PAH, LMW PAHs, and HMW PAHs were found in the P4 cruise (1.15, 1.05, and 0.10 g/L, respectively), well below the 300 g/L guideline for acute exposure. LMW/HMW ratios show that only the P1 cruise indicates pyrogenic hydrocarbons, while P2, P3, and P4 were petrogenic. The spatial distribution of total PAH, LMW, and HMW showed higher values in the southern and northeastern areas, except for P4, which showed high values related to riverine inputs. The complex hydrodynamic in the region was found to have a significant effect on PAH seasonal changes, river contributions, eddy circulation, and fronts to promote their dispersion.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Gold-Bouchot, G., Arcega-Cabrera, F., & Ceja-Moreno, V.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Gold-Bouchot, Gerardo||Arcega-Cabrera, Flor||Ceja-Moreno, Victor

publication date

  • 2023