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(PUL-1117-837846) Biomonitoring for the Georgia coast: Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) as sentinels of coastal water quality.
Pulster, E1, Singleton, M1, Danforth, J1, Frischer, M1, Maruya, K2, 1 Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah, Georgia, USA2 Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, Westminster, California, USA
ABSTRACT- The eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) is one of the most abundant bivalve species inhabiting the eastern U.S. coastal zone. Because they accumulate chemical and microbial contaminants and thus integrate exposures via the water column, bivalves including C. virginica have been used as integrative water quality bioindicators for decades. The overall objective of this project is to initiate an environmental observation system for coastal Georgia (USA) water quality based on this ecologically relevant indicator species. Oysters were collected from viable beds from up to 16 sites in the six coastal GA counties and analyzed for a suite of heavy metal and organic contaminants, as well as bacterial indicators of water quality and oyster health (total and fecal coliforms, Enterococci, and bioluminescent strains). Site selection was based on differing land use (pristine, oyster harvesting beds, industrial, commercial, and residential waterfront). Collection is taking place in summer and winter for a three year period, beginning in May 2005. The data will be compiled to compare contaminant levels associated with different land uses, to assess for relationships among chemical contaminants and biological levels/indicators, and to ultimately create a map of coastal GA water quality.
Key words: Crassostrea virginica, Bioaccumulation, Bioindicator
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