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Long-Term Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska Long-Term Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska A. L. Blanchard, Howard. M. Feder, Carrie Parris and Hilary Nichols Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "Long-Term Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska Long-Term Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska A. L. Blanchard, Howard. M. Feder, Carrie Parris and Hilary Nichols Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 Long-Term Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska Long-Term Studies in Port Valdez, Alaska A. L. Blanchard, Howard. M. Feder, Carrie Parris and Hilary Nichols Institute of Marine Science, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 19-23, 2009

2 Acknowledgments The environmental studies in Port Valdez were funded by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. We thank the many technicians and students who have assisted on the project, Max Hoberg for his contributions to field efforts, David Connor of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. for his support, and the captains and crews of the M/V Valdez Star for their gracious assistance in sampling.

3 IMS Port Valdez Investigations Oceanographic Studies Geological Physical Biological Chemical Fisheries Environmental Monitoring Marine Biology Marine Mammals Intertidal Subtidal Benthos Sediment Bacterial Sediment Hydrocarbons Subtidal Benthos

4 Stressors Oil Terminal Wastes Transport Growth Oil Spills 1964 Earthquake Vessel Traffic Fish Hatchery Watershed Urbanization Industrialization Sea Otter Recovery Recreational Commercial Tourism Large Returns Commercial Fishing Recreational Fishing Wastes Processing Runoff Wastes Habitat Loss Chemical Spills Glacial Sediments

5 Port Valdez Deep-Basin Stations Transect Locations Full fjord sampling locations 1971, 1976, 2002

6 Trends in the Deep Basin: Spatio-Temporal Model of the # Taxa The number of taxa present in the fjord increased through Higher number of taxa found towards the mouth. Head of Fjord: strong glacial influences Mouth of Fjord Blanchard, Feder, and Hoberg, in prep.

7 Trends in the Deep Basin: Spatio-Temporal Model of Abundance Variable but increasing abundance over time. Higher abundance at the head of the fjord.

8 Trends in the Deep Basin: Galathowenia oculata 6,430 ind. m ind. m ind. m -2 3 ind. m Limited sampling - G. oculata at almost all stations sampled. Extensive sampling - G. oculata at only one location. Extensive sampling - G. oculata at eight locations. Extensive sampling. 540 ind. m -2

9 Trends in the Deep Basin: Correlative Studies Hypothesis from study: Hatchery salmon releases and returns have substantially altered the Port Valdez ecosystem enhancing benthic fauna to the deep basin.

10 Port Valdez Environmental Monitoring Sites

11 Treated Ballast-Water Discharges PAH (ng g -1 ) Percent Sensitive Species (Galathowenia oculata and Melinna cristata) Spatio-temporal modeling indicates decreasing PAH concentrations over time. Spatio-temporal modeling indicates decreasing PAH concentrations over time. Strongest association is between PAH and the percent abundance of two tube-dwelling polychaetes. Strongest association is between PAH and the percent abundance of two tube-dwelling polychaetes. Blanchard et al., 2002, 2003; Blanchard, 2008; Blanchard and Feder, in prep.

12 Treated Ballast-Water Discharges Depth and sediment type have strongest influences on fauna. (See poster by H. Nichols.) Depth and sediment type have strongest influences on fauna. (See poster by H. Nichols.) Associations of some fauna are evident at low PAH concentrations. Associations of some fauna are evident at low PAH concentrations.

13 Port Valdez Sediment Disposal Study

14 Multiple Stressor Interactions: Sediment Disposal Study Dredging and dock construction had large effects. Dredging and dock construction had large effects. Recovery was delayed by interactions of dredging, vessel traffic, and discharges of fish wastes Recovery was delayed by interactions of dredging, vessel traffic, and discharges of fish wastes Dredging and Construction Recovery in Progress Vessel traffic, spread of fish wastes delayed recovery Blanchard and Feder, 2003.

15 What We’ve Learned Faunal responses to and recovery from stress mediated by fjord characteristics: Faunal responses to and recovery from stress mediated by fjord characteristics: – Environmental gradients and stresses strong. –Seasonal stratification, deep basin, and strong sediment gradient important factors for infauna. Interactions between multiple stressors are limited due to spatial scales of stressors. Interactions between multiple stressors are limited due to spatial scales of stressors. –Present only at shallow subtidal site. Earthquake had long-lasting effects. Earthquake had long-lasting effects. –Appears re-adjusted 1989/1990, 26 years later.

16 What We’ve Learned Hatchery salmon releases and returns have increased over time. Hatchery salmon releases and returns have increased over time. –Magnitude of effects not known. Effects from disposal of treated ballast water at the oil terminal are: Effects from disposal of treated ballast water at the oil terminal are: –Negligible in the deep benthos. –Stronger in shallow sites. –Overall, effects on benthic infauna limited, small.

17 References Blanchard, A. L., H. M. Feder and D. G. Shaw Long-term investigation of benthic fauna and the influence of treated ballast water disposal in Port Valdez, Alaska. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 44: Blanchard, A. and H. M. Feder Adjustment of benthic fauna following sediment disposal at a site with multiple stressors in Port Valdez, Alaska. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 46: Blanchard, A. L., H. M. Feder and D. G. Shaw Variations of benthic fauna underneath an effluent mixing zone at a marine oil terminal in Port Valdez, Alaska. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 46: Blanchard, A. L Challenges in Environmental Monitoring of Marine Invertebrate Communities at a Marine Oil Terminal in Alaska. In JSM Proceedings, Section on the Environment. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association. Blanchard, A. L., H. M. Feder and M. K. Hoberg. In preparation. Temporal Variability of Benthic Communities Affected by a Large Earthquake and Anthropogenic Stressors, Blanchard, A. and H. M. Feder. In preparation. Associations of Benthic Macrofauna Variations with Long-term Discharges of Residual Hydrocarbons into the Marine Environment at a Major Marine Oil Terminal.


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