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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


September-October 2014

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Oil Pollution in the Marine Environment III: Fates and Effects of Chronic Oil Inputs

Part I of this series of articles presented the evidence that chronic input of oil accounts for almost 90% of the annual oil input to the marine environment on a global basis and averaged over a decade.1 Part II provided an overview and summary of the fates and effects of spilled oil, and discussed issues of response, containment, mitigation, and cleanup of spilled oil, and some related issues.2 This article, Part III, presents and discusses current knowledge of fates and effects of natural oil seeps in brief followed by current knowledge of fates and effects of chronic oil inputs due to human activities.

John W. Farrington is Dean emeritus at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth's School of Marine Science and Technology. He has conducted research focused on organic chemicals in the marine environment and has been involved in graduate education with the MIT/WHOI Joint Program for the majority of his 42 years in ocean sciences. He has been active at the science-policy interface in the local, national and international arenas and in “K-gray” education.

The author is particularly appreciative of the guidance of Ph. D. thesis advisor, Professor (emeritus) James G. Quinn of the Graduate School of Oceanography, URI, for helpful guidance early in his career, and for interactions with numerous colleagues, co-workers students, and postdocs. Jack Cook of the Graphics Group at WHOI provided both original and redrawn illustrations. Dr. Peter Brewer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) kindly arranged for MBARI to make available a gas and oil seep photo.

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