Densities of fishes, invertebrates and plants at rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal sites were censused 1-2 days prior to the Jessica oil spill and compared with information obtained for the same sites one month after the spill, both for sites impacted by oil and unaffected reference sites. While the availability of pre-spill data made this analysis one of the most powerful to date for testing impacts of oil on shoreline environments, no clear changes attributable to oiling could be identified. Discharged oil appeared to cause very little impact in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zones, with such impacts lying within the range of natural spatial and temporal variation at sites investigated. Factors considered to minimize impact in Galápagos included paucity of fully sheltered shores in spill path, moderate wave action, warm temperature, high levels of sunlight, and mixing of bunker oil with diesel. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Oil spill