Recovery of Macrobenthic Food Web on Rocky Shores Following the Hebei Spirit Oil Spill as Revealed by C and N Stable Isotopes
Water (2022) 14(15), 2335. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152335
Park HJ, Kim C, Kang CK
The impact of large-scale oil spills on organisms can lead to modifications of the food web structure. To assess the effects of the Hebei Spirit oil-spill accident on the trophic structure of the macrobenthic community on intertidal rocky shores along Taean Peninsula on the western coast of Republic of Korea 4 years after the Hebei Spirit oil spill, we analyzed carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of macrobenthic consumers and their potential food sources in two heavily oil-impacted and one non-impacted sites. The results show no significant differences in isotopic ratios of feeding groups and their potential food sources between the polluted and reference sites, suggesting similar trophic structures given similar resource use by consumers. Similar isotopic niches and substantial overlap areas of feeding groups between the affected and reference sites suggest that the oil-impacted sites have re-achieved the trophic functions of the natural ecosystem. This study provides valuable information on the ecological processes of trophic recovery in coastal ecosystems impacted by oil spills.