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Long-term impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on sea otters, assessed through age-dependent mortality patterns.

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature6763
Source
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jun 6;97(12):6562-7
Publication Type
Article
Date
Jun-6-2000
Author
D H Monson
D F Doak
B E Ballachey
A. Johnson
J L Bodkin
Author Affiliation
United States Geological Survey, Alaska Biological Science Center, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503, USA. daniel_monson@usgs.gov
Source
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Jun 6;97(12):6562-7
Date
Jun-6-2000
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Accidents
Age Factors
Alaska
Animals
Environmental pollution
Mortality
Otters - physiology
Petroleum
Population Surveillance
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Time Factors
Abstract
We use age distributions of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) found dead on beaches of western Prince William Sound, Alaska, between 1976 and 1998 in conjunction with time-varying demographic models to test for lingering effects from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Our results show that sea otters in this area had decreased survival rates in the years following the spill and that the effects of the spill on annual survival increased rather than dissipated for older animals. Otters born after the 1989 spill were affected less than those alive in March 1989, but do show continuing negative effects through 1998. Population-wide effects of the spill appear to have slowly dissipated through time, due largely to the loss of cohorts alive during the spill. Our results demonstrate that the difficult-to-detect long-term impacts of environmental disasters may still be highly significant and can be rigorously analyzed by using a combination of population data, modeling techniques, and statistical analyses.
PubMed ID
10823920 View in PubMed
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