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TA4 Integrating Sublethal Responses and Ecologically Relevant Endpoints
204 Oregon Ballroom
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Tuesday

() response patterns as diagnostic tools: a multibiomarker approach to environmental assessment.

galloway, t1, browne, m1, dissanayake, a1, lowe, d2, depledge, m3, jones, m1, 1 university of plymouth, plymouth, devon, uk2 plymouth marine laboratory, plymouth, devon, uk3 environment agency of england and wales, bristol, somerset, uk

ABSTRACT- Emerging environmental management legislation highlights the need for an integrated biological and chemical approach to monitoring aquatic ecosystems to ensure good ecological quality without defining the term good. The same problem of defninition is seen when trying to establish criteria to measure environmental health. While there is general acceptance that biological measurments are essesntial to any understanding of good ecological quality and environmental health, the key question is: what are the best biological responses to measure to give an assessment of these terms? We advocate the application of suites of biomarkers devised to measure different levels of biological responses (cellular, molecular, physiological) to establish a diagnosis of stress using a weight of evidence approach. Furthermore, we sample from a wide range of organisms chosen to reflect different trophic positions in the ecosystem (filter feeder, grazer, carnivore, omnivore) and also recognise that different invertebrate phyla possess different intrinsic biological attributes (phylogenetic position). Fundamental to this approach is the concept that healthy individuals reflect a healthy (or, 'good') ecological quality environment. We have developed a biomarker tool box to assess the organismal health of a wide range of common species found on most estuarine and coastal shores of Northern Europe. Multivariate statistical techniques were employed to identify the most appropriate sentinel species and those biomarkers which are most reflective of ecosystems with different signatures of contamination. Examples will be provided to illustrate all aspects of our approach.

Key words: multivariate analysis, biomarker, pollution, estuary


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