University of California, Davis
Mechanisms of reproductive, developmental, and early life stage impacts of marine oil spills
Andrew Whitehead, Ph.D.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis are working to better understand the medium- and long-term health effects of oil spills, which can release large volumes of persistently toxic chemicals into the environment. Many large active oil fields are close to highly populated areas where people might be exposed through clean-up and remediation efforts, contact with oil in popular vacation areas, and through the food chain. The investigators are using the Gulf Killifish as a locally resident, sentinel animal model for studying impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on vertebrate growth, development, performance, and reproduction. This work will offer insight into risks and mechanisms of oil spill effects on a vertebrate animal model, offer biomarkers that predict or reflect impaired biological processes, and accelerate the discovery of genetic and physiological risk factors.