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Oil and oil spills – Impacts on coral and coral reefs

In order to support the response efforts to the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the ICRI secretariat is looking for information related to the impact of oil spills on mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs, best methods for preventing impending oil from reaching them, and finally, how best to preserve and restore impacted habitats. ICRI will compile the information and make it available through this page.



  • Resources on oil spills, response, and restoration [electronic resource]: a selected bibliography. Publisher: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, National Oceanographic Data Center, Library and Information Services Division (2010).

This Bibliography has been prepared as an aid for those seeking information concerning the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and information on previous spills and associated remedial actions. Various media products (web, video, printed and online documents) have been selected from resources available via the online NOAA Library and Information Network Catalog (NOAALINC). Many of the resources included have been produced by NOAA offices and programs. The content of the Bibliography includes information sources concerned both with the harmful effects of oil and chemical spills to marine habitats and their associated living marine resources and with the cultural and economic impacts caused by such spills. The Bibliography is published online as Library and Information Services Division current references 2010-2 at: http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/noaa_documents/NESDIS/NODC/LISD/Central_Library/current_references/current_references_2010_2.pdf


SeaWeb has assembled relevant literature from the last three decades which provide insights not only to the impact of oil on the marine and coastal environment in the Gulf of Mexico, but highlights experiences, issues and research from similar oil spills in other regions of the world. These were featured in a special addition of Marine Science Review.



  • Haapkyla, J., Ramade, F., and Salvat, B. Oil pollution on coral reefs: a review of the state of knowledge and management needs. Vie et Milieu 57(1-2): 95-111, 2007.

  • Office of Response and Restoration. 2001. Oil Spills in Coral Reefs: Planning and Response Considerations. NOAA Ocean Service, Seattle, WA. 78pp. (Available at: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/book_shelf/70_coral_full_report.pdf)

  • Shafir, S., Van Rijn, J., and Rinkevich, B. Short and long term toxicity of crude oil and oil dispersants to two representative coral species. Environmental Science and Technology 41(15): 5571-5574, 2007.

  • Epstein, N., Bak, R.P.M., and Rinkevich, J. Toxicity of third generation dispersants and dispersed Egyptian crude oil on Red Sea coral larvae. Marine Pollution Bulletin 40(6): 497-503, 2000.

  • Guzmán, H. and Holst, I. Effects of chronic oil-sediment pollution on the reproduction of the Caribbean reef coral Siderastrea siderea. Marine Pollution Bulletin 26(5): 276-282, 1993.

  • Guzmán, H.M., Jackson, J.B.C., and Weil, E. Short-term ecological consequences of a major oil spill on Panamanian subtidal reef corals. Coral Reefs 10(1): 1-12, 1991.

  • Guzmán, H.M., Burns, K.A., and Jackson, J.B. Injury, regeneration and growth of Caribbean reef corals after a major oil spill in Panama. Marine Ecology Progress Series 105: 231-241, 1994.

Marine Science Review is a source of regular updates derived from the peer-reviewed science literature on global change issues as they relate to coastal and marine environments, including their intersection with human health and security and policy and governance. More than 600 science journals are monitored and the pertinent citations and abstracts are incorporated into each Review according to subject area.


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