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Measurement of stress effects (scope for growth) and contaminant levels in mussels (Mytilus edulis) collected from the Irish Sea

Widdows, J ; Donkin, P ; Staff, F J ; Matthiessen, P ; Law, R J ; Allen, Y T ; Thain, J E ; Allchin, C R ; Jones, B R

Marine environmental research, May 2002, Vol.53(4), pp.327-56 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    Measurement of stress effects (scope for growth) and contaminant levels in mussels (Mytilus edulis) collected from the Irish Sea
  • Autor: Widdows, J ; Donkin, P ; Staff, F J ; Matthiessen, P ; Law, R J ; Allen, Y T ; Thain, J E ; Allchin, C R ; Jones, B R
  • Assuntos: Bivalvia -- Growth & Development ; Environmental Monitoring -- Methods ; Water Pollutants, Chemical -- Analysis
  • É parte de: Marine environmental research, May 2002, Vol.53(4), pp.327-56
  • Descrição: The objective of this research was to quantify the impact of pollution along the coastlines of the Irish Sea. Pollution assessment was based on the combined measurement of scope for growth (SFG), and chemical contaminants in the tissues of mussels (Mytilus edulis) collected from 38 coastal sites around the Irish Sea during June-July in 1996 and 1997. On the UK mainland coast, the SFG showed a general trend with a significant decline in water quality in the Liverpool and Morecambe Bay region. High water quality was recorded along the west coast of Wales, as well as southwest England and northwest Scotland (clean reference sites outside the Irish Sea). Along the coast of Ireland there was a similar trend with reduced SFG within the Irish Sea region. SFG was generally low north of Duncannon and then improved north of Belfast. The poor water quality on both sides of the Irish Sea is consistent with the prevailing hydrodynamics and the spatial distribution of contaminants associated with urban/ industrial development. The decline in SFG of mussels on both sides of the Irish Sea was associated with a general increase in contaminant levels in the mussels. Certain contaminants, including PAHs, TBT, sigmaDDT, Dieldrin, gamma-HCH, PCBs, and a few of the metals (Cd, Se, Ag, Pb), showed elevated concentrations. Many of these contaminants were particularly elevated in the coastal margins of Liverpool Bay, Morecambe Bay and Dublin Bay. A quantitative toxicological interpretation (QTI) of the combined tissue residue chemistry and SFG measurements indicated that at the majority of coastal sites, c. 50 to > 80% of the observed decline in SFG was due to PAHs as a result of fossil fuel combustion and oil spills. TBT levels were highest at major ports and harbours, but these concentrations only made a minor contribution to the overall reduction in SFG. At no sites were individual metals accumulated to concentrations that could cause a significant effect on SFG. The study identified many sites where the observed reduction in SFG was far greater than predicted from the limited number of chemical contaminants analysed, thus indicating the presence of additional 'unknown toxicants'. Sewage (containing domestic, agricultural and industrial components) appears to be an important contributor to reduced SFG and linear alkylbenzenes (LABs) and As may provide suitable 'sewage markers'. There was a highly significant positive correlation between SFG and As (P < 0.001). This relationship may be due to reduced As uptake by algal food material and mussels at sites with elevated P04 concentrations (e.g. at sites with sewage inputs). Phosphate is a known competitive inhibitor of As accumulation, at least in algae. The results highlight that further research is required on 'sewage markers' in mussels. The SFG approach therefore provides a rapid, cost-effective and quantitative measure of pollution impact, as well as a means of identifying the causes through a QTI of tissue contaminants levels. It also serves to identify the presence of unidentified toxicants and areas that require further study.
  • Idioma: Inglês

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