MA8 Ecotoxicology of Tropical Aquatic Environments
A105 & A106
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Monday

(71A) Evaluating the ecotoxicology and health status of coral reef scallops along a pollution gradient.

Hagger, J1, Bouskill, N1, Depledge, M2, Galloway, T1, 1 University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK2 Environment Agency, Bristol, UK

ABSTRACT- Coral reefs, and ultimately the entire coral reef ecosystem, are extremely sensitive to both physical and chemical sources of contamination. Rapid Assessment of Marine Pollution (RAMP) techniques were used to assess the ecotoxicological health status of coral reefs exposed to a pollution gradient in Castle Harbor, Bermuda using the tropical scallop, Euvola (Pectin) ziczac, as a bioindicator species. Site 1 was approximately 1.5-2km from a submerged dump location, site 2 approximately 500-800m and site 3 approximately 20-50m. Haemolymph from deployed scallops was used to determine neutral red retention and phagocytosis activity. Gill tissue was used to measure antioxidant activity (FRAP assay) and metallothionein concentration. In addition the mantle tissue was analysed for vitellogenin like proteins using the alkali-labile phosphate assay and the cardiac output of the scallops was assessed using the Computer Aided Physiological Monitoring (CAPMON) system. Results indicate that there was no alteration in neutral red uptake between sites (P=0.240) although there was a significant reduction of phagocytosis activity (P=0.015) at the most polluted site. In conjunction with this the levels of antioxidant activity, measured using the FRAP assay was also elevated at the contaminated dumpsite. The levels of vitellogenin like proteins was statistically different between sites (P=0.0004) with the dumpsite showing an increase in alkali-labile phosphates in comparison to the other sites suggesting the presence of estrogenic compounds. Metallothionein was not shown to be induced in the gill tissue (P=0.297) and there was no variation in the cardiac output of the deployed scallops between sites. Of the approximate 600,000+ km2 of coral reefs worldwide, it is estimated that about 10 percent have already been degraded beyond recovery and another 30 percent are likely to decline significantly within the next 20 years. Therefore it is important that the physical, chemical and biological status of coral reefs is scrutinized and monitored in order to preserve this unique habitat.

Key words: Coral Reefs, Ecotoxicology, Euvola ziczac, RAMP

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