Effects of Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil on Visual Function in Teleost Fishes

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The Deepwater Horizon oil spill released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, impacting economically and ecologically important fishes. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present in the oil have been shown to cause developmental impairments in early life stage fishes, such as morphological and behavioral changes related to eye formation and visual processing following PAH exposure. Prior research reported reduced eye growth in open water, pelagic species, as well as reduced photoreceptor-specific transcription factors associated with eye development following exposure to crude oil. Though changes in transcriptomic-level pathways associated with vision and visual processing have been reported, it ... continued below

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Magnuson, Jason T August 2018.

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  • Magnuson, Jason T

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Description

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, impacting economically and ecologically important fishes. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present in the oil have been shown to cause developmental impairments in early life stage fishes, such as morphological and behavioral changes related to eye formation and visual processing following PAH exposure. Prior research reported reduced eye growth in open water, pelagic species, as well as reduced photoreceptor-specific transcription factors associated with eye development following exposure to crude oil. Though changes in transcriptomic-level pathways associated with vision and visual processing have been reported, it has yet to be determined how these changes relate to physiological or behavioral-level effects in fish. Therefore, the present studies evaluated the effect of weathered crude oil on eye development and visual function in mahi-mahi, red drum, sheepshead minnow, and zebrafish larvae. Fish were assessed through several visually-mediated behavioral assays, analyzed histologically and immunohistologically, along with subsequent transcriptomic analyses and associated gene expression changes. Larvae exposed to crude oil experienced significantly reduced abilities to exhibit optomotor or optokinetic responses relative to controls, with associated reductions in retinal development. Furthermore, genes associated with eye development and phototransduction were downregulated, with subsequent decreases in the immunofluorescence of neurological connections within the retina and a choroid-specific increase in apoptotic activity. We related oil-induced transcriptomic-level effects to morphological, physiological, and behavioral-level impairments in larval teleost fishes.

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  • August 2018

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  • Sept. 26, 2018, 6:16 p.m.

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Magnuson, Jason T. Effects of Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil on Visual Function in Teleost Fishes, dissertation, August 2018; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1248397/: accessed January 15, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .