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Brazil oil spill response: Protect rhodolith beds

Abstract : In his News In Depth story “Mystery oil spill threatens marine sanctuary in Brazil” (8 November 2019, p. 672), H. Escobar highlights important ecosystems that have been affected by the spill. However, he did not mention the Brazilian rhodolith beds—the most extensive, abundant, and diverse biogenic carbonate habitats in the South Atlantic (1). The oil spill severely threatens these ecosystems, which comprise a staggering 2 x 1011 tons of carbonatic bank (2), stretch from 5°N to 27°S along the Brazilian coast, and cover a seabed potential area of 229,000 km2 (1). Brazil's rhodolith beds are recognized as an oasis of diversity (3). Although they harbor species of great economic and ecological value, they remain unprotected. The oil pollution will likely cause major socio-environmental and economic losses, similar to those caused by the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico (4). The contamination will compromise the region's food security as well as biodiversity conservation and efficient management. Moreover, the ongoing oil spill could have global consequences given the potential biogeochemical role of rhodolith beds in the oceanic carbon balance (1, 5). Thus, this event must not be downplayed or concealed, as has been attempted in the case of Brazilian mining accidents (6) and Amazon deforestation and fires (7). We advocate urgent action to evaluate and mitigate the oil spill and to remediate and restore areas on the oil slick route. Brazil must follow in the footsteps of Australia and Europe (8) and prioritize rhodolith bed conservation.
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Contributor : Gilberto Marani Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 10:40:01 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 3:51:23 AM


  • HAL Id : mnhn-02966586, version 1


M. Nasri Sissini, F. Berchez, Jason M Hall-Spencer, N. Ghilardi-Lopes, Fernanda Carvalho Cavalari, et al.. Brazil oil spill response: Protect rhodolith beds. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2020, 367 (6474), pp.155-156. ⟨mnhn-02966586⟩



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