Edible-Oil Pollution on Fanning Island

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1978-01
Authors
Russell, Dennis J.
Carlson, Bruce A.
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University of Hawaii Press
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In August 1975 the M.V. Lindenbank went aground on Fanning Atoll and dumped 17,797 metric tons of cargo onto a pristine coral reef. Nearly 10,000 tons of the cargo were vegetable oils and edible-oil raw materials such as copra. Although no toxic substances were dumped into the water, the effects of these oily substances were similar to those occurring after a petroleum oil spill. Fishes, crustaceans, and mollusks were killed and an excessive growth of Enteromorpha and Viva occurred. The animal kill was most likely attributable to asphyxiation and clogging of the digestive tract, while the algal growth was most likely attributable to the elimination of algal competitors, increased fertilization from the pollution and ship, and reduced grazing pressure. Oil may have suppressed certain algal species while stimulating others. Complete recovery of the original coralline algal community proceeded in sequence from Enteromorpha to Viva to Cladophora-Lyngbya to Hypnea-Caulerpa to Jania-Gelidium. The climax community became evident II months after the original spill.
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Russell DJ, Carlson BA. 1978. Edible-oil pollution on Fanning Island. Pac Sci 32(1): 1-15.
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