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Oil in the Environment: Legacies and Lessons of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

  • The first book to be published on the effects of Exxon Valdez in 15 years, reviewing the effects and recovery at around 25 years post-spill for the most studied oil spill in North American history
  • Written by scientists directly involved in studying the spill, giving readers the benefit of 20+ years of hands-on experience
  • An even-handed, critical examination of opposing viewpoints on controversial issues, providing guidance on how science may best be deployed to understand and deal with future oil spills as well as other forms of environmental disruption

By: John A Wiens(Editor)

450 pages, 101 colour & 4 b/w illustrations, 12 maps, 27 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jul 2013 | #201532 | ISBN-13: 9781107614697
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $40/€34 approx
Hardback | Jul 2013 | #201531 | ISBN-13: 9781107027176
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About this book

What light does nearly 25 years of scientific study of the Exxon Valdez oil spill shed on the fate and effects of a spill? How can the results help in assessing future spills? How can ecological risks be assessed and quantified? In this, the first book on the effects of Exxon Valdez in 15 years, scientists directly involved in studying the spill provide a comprehensive perspective on, and synthesis of, scientific information on long-term spill effects. The coverage is multidisciplinary, with chapters discussing a range of issues including effects on biota, successes and failures of post-spill studies and techniques, and areas of continued disagreement. An even-handed and critical examination of more than two decades of scientific study, this is an invaluable guide for studying future oil spills and, more broadly, for unraveling the consequences of any large environmental disruption.

Advance praise:

"It is now 24 years since approximately 34,500 tonnes of crude oil were released into Prince William Sound, Alaska, as a result of the grounding of the tanker Exxon Valdez [...] [The] spill has been described as the most intensively studied in history – over 800 peer-reviewed scientific papers have been produced to date and work is ongoing. This volume, written by scientists who conducted many of these scientific studies, provides an excellent compilation and critical evaluation of the evidence gathered in relation to impacts which occurred as a result of the incident. The additional perspective given by time has also allowed a very useful series of 'lessons learned' following each of the main topic areas [...] [I] recommend this volume to anyone involved in studies undertaken to assess impacts of oil and/or chemical spills, and to others interested in this area [...]"
- Robin Law, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

"[...] this book provides a holistic view of possible ecosystem effects and describes the evidence to change as a result of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It is comprehensive in approach but accessible in style – each chapter both fits within the context of the spill 'life cycle' but stands alone. The narrative is accessible to the non-expert and is supported by well laid out tables and figures. Oh – that this would have been available in 2010 as oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico! No two spills are the same but there is a lot to be learned from one that can be applied to others – both for interested bystanders and experts. This book does an excellent job of capturing and conveying the essentials, laying out lessons learned, and supporting the information with citation and illustration."
- Denise Reed, The Water Institute of the Gulf, USA

"A carefully written book [...] Given its breadth and authority, [it] will likely become a classic in oil spill literature. It is very well organized, covering in sequence topics from oil chemistry to effects on shoreline biota, fish, seabirds and marine mammals. All chapters are written by pre-eminent specialists who have studied this spill and others for decades. I highly recommend the book to environmental scientists, regulatory and industry personnel, and spill response specialists. Anyone interested in understanding how oil interacts with marine ecosystems and how such systems recover or not from such perturbations will benefit from this book. It is particularly timely given the needs of the scientific community responding to the 2010 Macondo well (Deepwater Horizon) blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico. The contributing authors should be congratulated for their outstanding scientific effort and scholarship."
- Peter G. Wells, Dalhousie University and (formerly) Environment Canada

"For those wanting to get a feel for the detail and breadth of the studies following the Exxon Valdez spill, this book provides not only a detailed summary on all aspects of the fate and effects, but also an excellent signpost to the primary research carried out. ITOPF echoes the call made in the concluding section of the book for open and transparent science to be carried out at oil spills."
- ITOPF (The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation)


List of contributors
A bibliographic note David K. Johnson and Laura R. Rustin
List of acronyms

Part I. Introduction and Background
1. Introduction and background John A. Wiens
2. The phases of an oil spill and scientific studies of spill effects Paul D. Boehm, Erich R. Gundlach and David S. Page

Part II. Oil in the Environment
3. Oil in the water column Paul D. Boehm, Jerry M. Neff and David S. Page
4. Surveying oil on the shoreline Edward H. Owens and P. Douglas Reimer
5. Ancient sites and emergency response: cultural resource protection Chris B. Wooley and James C. Haggarty
6. Fate of oil on shorelines David S. Page, Paul D. Boehm, John S. Brown, Erich R. Gundlach and Jerry M. Neff
7. Understanding subsurface contamination using conceptual and mathematical models Gary A. Pope, Kimberly D. Gordon and James R. Bragg
8. Removal of oil from shorelines: biodegradation and bioremediation Ronald M. Atlas and James R. Bragg

Part III. Biological Effects
9. Cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) as a biomarker in oil spill assessments James T. Oris and Aaron P. Roberts
10. Assessing effects and recovery from environmental accidents Keith R. Parker, John A. Wiens, Robert H. Day and Stephen M. Murphy
11. Shoreline biota Erich R. Gundlach, David S. Page, Jerry M. Neff and Paul D. Boehm
12. Oiling effects on pink salmon Ernest L. Brannon, Matthew A. Cronin, Al W. Maki, Larry L. Moulton and Keith R. Parker
13. Pacific herring Walter H. Pearson, Ralph A. Elston, Karen Humphrey and Richard B. Deriso
14. Oil and marine birds in a variable environment John A. Wiens, Robert H. Day and Stephen M. Murphy
15. Sea otters: trying to see the forest for the trees since Exxon Valdez David L. Garshelis and Charles B. Johnson

Part IV. Assessing Oil Spill Effects and Ecological Recovery
16. Characterizing ecological risks, significance, and recovery Mark A. Harwell, John H. Gentile and Keith R. Parker

Part V. Conclusions
17. Science and oil spills: the broad picture John A. Wiens


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