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The Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in varying degrees of oiling in the salt marshes of northern Barataria Bay, Louisiana, USA. This study examines the effects of oiling intensity and recovery on two conspicuous marsh-platform macroinvertebrates, Uca spp., fiddler crabs, and Littoraria irrorata, the salt marsh periwinkle, from 2.5 to 4.5 years after the spill. The dominant fiddler crab within these marshes, Uca longisignalis, was the only species observed in field collections, and no significant difference in burrow density or burrow size was found among oiling levels over the study period indicating recovery from any negative effects of oiling already occurred for this species. The highest density of L. irrorata was found at moderately oiled sites compared to both reference (without visible oiling) and heavily oiled stations. Spartina alterniflora density recovered within two years after the spill at the moderately oiled stations facilitating recovery of L. irrorata approximately one year later. L. irrorata average shell length and length-frequency distributions were equivalent at moderately oiled and reference stations but snails were shorter at heavily oiled stations because of a greater proportion of subadults. Shell length data from the heavily oiled sites indicate that direct mortality due to oiling or oil-induced reductions in recruitment occurred in 2010 and that recovery was starting to occur at 48 months after the spill. The extent and duration of oil in the water during the spill and the biological responses we measured indicates that L. irrorata and Uca longisignalis were both affected in their ability to carry out their life cycle on the marsh and/or in the water column at all stations including the reference stations for some period following the entry of oil into the region.
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