||Impact of Drilling Fluids on Seagrasses: An Experimental Community Approach.
Morton, R. D. ;
Duke, T. W. ;
Macauley, J. M. ;
Clark, J. R. ;
Price, W. A. ;
||University of West Florida, Pensacola. Dept. of Biology.;Environmental Research Lab., Gulf Breeze, FL.
Drilling fluids ;
Sea grasses ;
Water pollution ;
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Effects of a used drilling fluid on an experimental seagrass community (Thalassia testudinum) were measured by exposing the community to the suspended particulate phase (SPP) in laboratory microcosms. Structure of the macroinvertebrate assemblage, growth and chlorophyll content of grass and associated epiphytes, and rates of decomposition as indicated by weight loss of grass leaves in treated and untreated microcosms were compared. There were statistically significant differences in community structure and function among untreated microcosms and those receiving the clay and drilling fluid. For example, drilling fluid and clay caused a significant loss in the number of the ten most numerically abundant (dominant) macroinvertebrates, and drilling fluid decreased the rate at which Thalassia leaves decomposed.