Ultraviolet Radiation Enhances the Toxicity of Deepwater Horizon Oil to Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) Embryos

Matthew Alloy, David Baxter, John Stieglitz, Edward Mager, Ronald Hoenig, Daniel Benetti, Martin Grosell, James Oris, Aaron Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in the accidental release of millions barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Photoinduced toxicity following coexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one mechanism by which polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from oil spills may exert toxicity. Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), an important fishery resource, have positively buoyant, transparent eggs. These characteristics may result in mahi-mahi embryos being at particular risk from photoinduced toxicity. The goal of this study was to determine whether exposure to ultraviolet radiation as natural sunlight enhances the toxicity of crude oil to embryonic mahi-mahi. Mahi-mahi embryos were exposed to several dilutions of water accommodated fractions (WAF) from slick oil collected during the 2010 spill and gradations of natural sunlight in a fully factorial design. Here, we report that coexposure to natural sunlight and WAF significantly reduced percent hatch in mahi-mahi embryos. Effect concentrations of PAH in WAF were within the range of surface PAH concentrations reported in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon spill. These data suggest that laboratory toxicity tests that do not include UV may underestimate the toxicity of oil spills to early lifestage fish species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2011-2017
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 16 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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