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Effects of the Iron Barren oil spill - impact and recovery of sub tidal reefs


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Edgar, GJ and Barrett, NS 1995 , Effects of the Iron Barren oil spill - impact and recovery of sub tidal reefs.

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The impact of the Iron Baron oil spill on subtidal reef communities in Bass Strait was
assessed by quantitatively censusing plant and animal populations after the spill and
comparing these data with information obtained using similar techniques prior to the
spill. Natural changes at control sites were of a similar magnitude to changes in reef
assemblages following the spill at sites with moderate and heavy oil contamination on
nearby shores. Any effects of the oil spill on subtidal reef assemblages were therefore
considered to be minor. By contrast, the grounding of the hull at Hebe Reef caused
complete destruction of plant and animal life within a localised zone extending for z 170
m by 20 m. The fish population within this disturbed zone largely recovered to
predisturbance levels within three months of the impact whereas very little recovery of
invertebrate and virtually no recovery of macroalgal populations occurred during this
time period.
Given the lack of significant impact of the oil spill on coastal reefs, further monitoring
of reef communities is not considered necessary. Limited monitoring of the impact zone
and two nearby control sites on Hebe Reef is recommended in order to identify the
timescale required for assemblages in this region to recover.

Item Type: Report (Technical Report)
Authors/Creators:Edgar, GJ and Barrett, NS
Keywords: Iron Barren benthic fauna ecological recovery
Publisher: Marine Research Laboratories, TAFI
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