Abstract: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been reported to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light, resulting in enhanced toxicity. Early developmental stages of bivalves may be particularly susceptible to photo-enhanced toxicity during oil spills. In the current study, toxicity tests were conducted with sperm and three larval ages of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) to evaluate the photo-enhanced toxicity of low-energy water-accommodated fractions (WAFs) of two weathered Macondo crude oils collected from the Deepwater Horizon incident. Larvae exposed to oil WAFs under UV-filtered light demonstrated consistently higher survival and normal development than larvae exposed to WAFs under UV light. The phototoxicity of weathered Macondo oil increased as a function of increasing UV light intensity and dose. Early developing oyster larvae were the most sensitive to photo-enhanced toxicity, whereas later shelled prodissoconch larvae were insensitive. Comparisons between two weathered crude oils demonstrated that toxicity was dependent on phototoxic PAH concentration and UV light intensity.
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