The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has produced a variety of publications, fact sheets, and one-pagers about the effects of oil spills on coastal and marine resources. Florida Sea Grant has selected the publications most relevant to Floridians and posted them below, along with a brief description of each publication’s contents.
All-Purpose Oil Spill Info
- What to Expect in South Florida from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill describes the potential condition of oil if and when that oil reaches south Florida.
- Understanding Tar Balls is a brief fact sheet describing tar balls, how they form, the health hazards associated with tar balls, and what to do if you see a tar ball. For more pictures of the different types of tar balls, see pages 11-12 of the Shoreline Assessment Job Aid handbook.
- Hurricanes and the Oil Spill answers some frequently asked questions about the effects of hurricanes on the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. The fact sheet does not talk about the effects of hurricanes on the cleanup effort generally, but focuses on the surface and subsurface oil.
- Links Between Gulf Hypoxia and the Oil Spill covers the effects of the oil spill on the “dead zone” near the mouth of the Mississippi River. While the dead zone is more pertinent to Louisiana’s coast than Florida’s, this sheet provides an overview that might be of interest to a broad audience.
- Interpreting NOAA’s Trajectory Prediction Maps for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is a presentation on interpreting the daily NOAA trajectory maps.
Oil and Human Health
- Ensuring the Safety of Your Seafood has information on the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program. The fact sheet doesn’t go into specifics about either the dangers associated with oil spills and seafood or the potential long-term effects.
- Oil and Seafood: Evaluating the Risks for People Who Eat Fish and Shellfish is a brief fact sheet describing components of oil that accumulate in seafood tissues, how the risk of exposure is determined, and steps that health officials take to ensure public safety in areas where spills occur.
Oil and Fisheries, Wildlife, and Marine Habitat Information
- Fishing Industry in the Gulf of Mexico contains some basic information about the Gulf of Mexico fishery and the different species of marine mammals and sea turtles that may be affected by the spill.
- Fish Stocks in the Gulf of Mexico has general information about the economics of the Gulf of Mexico fishery, including fin fish, shell fish, and sharks.
Oil and Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles
- Effects of Oil on Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles discusses the internal and external effects of exposure to oil (and dispersants) on marine mammals and sea turtles.
- Oil and Sea Turtles: Biology, Planning, and Response details the effects of oil spills on sea turtles. This report also has good background information on sea turtle ecology.
- Sea Turtle Strandings and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill describes sea turtle strandings, the reasons for them, and the rehabilitation process for oiled sea turtles. (UPDATED 7/21/2010)
Oil and Corals & Coastal Marine Habitat
- Oil Spills and Coral Reefs contains information on oil spill response strategies for coral reefs, the effects of oil and dispersants on coral reefs, and the effects of past spills on coral reef ecosystems.
- Shorelines and Coastal Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico describes the impacts of the spill on the different coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Oil Spills in Coral Reefs: Planning and Response Considerations is a report on coral reef ecosystems and how they might be affected by oil spills. It also contains some good background information on reef ecology.
- Oil Spills in Mangroves: Planning and Response Considerations is a report on the effects of oil spills on mangrove ecosystems.Similar to the coral reef report, this document contains good background information on mangrove ecology.