Arctic Mussels

Photo-enhanced toxicity of dispersed and burned crude oil to Arctic mussels



understand which response method (dispersants versus in-situ burning) has a greater effect on Arctic mussel toxicity and whether the extreme seasonal differences in sunlight cause each response method to be more toxic in the summer than in the winter. The project will conclude with data synthesis and completed knowledge products.

Mussels Vignette Graphic Page Background


Photo-enhanced toxicity of crude oil is real and mussels inhabit the photic zone. Photo-enhanced toxicity, (i.e. the increase in toxicity associated with the presence of sunlight), of oil and dispersed oil has been identified in many studies over the past 20 years to various marine species. determined that light enhanced the toxicity of crude oil 2 - 100 fold and the toxicity of anthracene, fluoranthene and pyrene (chemical compounds in oil) 12 - 50,000 fold. An oil spill in Arctic regions during the summer would expose oil to sunlight for 24 hours per day and may result in significant photo-enhanced toxicity. There is a lack of knowledge on the toxicity of burned oil to Arctic/Subarctic species. Bay mussels (Mytilus trossulus) are an integral component of coastal ecosystems and an important food source for both wildlife and humans.


Coming Soon


ADAC's Arctic Summer Internship Program is made possible by the combined efforts of our PI's and staff.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Patrick Tomco

Ph.D. Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry Assistant Professor of Chemistry University of Alaska, Anchorage