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See detailDiscrimination of two geographically distinct populations of sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax, using stable isotopic signatures of mercury (δ202Hg, Δ199Hg)
Cransveld, Alice ULg; Amouroux, David; Koutrakis, Emmanuil et al

Poster (2014, May 15)

Despite the reduction of mercury (Hg) emissions in Europe in the last decades, Hg emissions are increasing worldwide and concentrations found in some marine predators remain high. This raises questions on ... [more ▼]

Despite the reduction of mercury (Hg) emissions in Europe in the last decades, Hg emissions are increasing worldwide and concentrations found in some marine predators remain high. This raises questions on mercury's biogeochemical cycle at both local and global scale. In the present work, we investigate the possibility to use mercury isotopic signature in fish as a tool to discriminate different polluted areas and potential pollution sources. Indeed, Hg can exhibit both mass-dependent (MDF) and mass-independent fractionation (MIF). While MDF may occur during biological cycling inter alia and could be used to understand bioaccumulation processes, MIF provides a unique fingerprint of specific chemical pathways, such as photochemical transformations. In this context, information provided by Hg isotopes would help to improve environmental management strategies. A preliminary set of four and ten juvenile common sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax were collected from the North Sea and the Aegean Sea respectively. T-Hg was analysed by direct mercury analyser (DMA), speciation by gas chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (GC-ICP-MS) and Hg isotope analysis were performed using cold vapour generation with multicollector ICP-MS. Total Hg concentrations in all tissues were higher in individuals from the North Sea ( Hgtot muscle=1,14 ± 0,48 mg.kg-1 dw) than from Greece (0,60 ± 0,06 mg.kg-1 dw). Speciation analysis shows that MeHg is the predominant form of Hg in muscle (89% MeHg on average) but not in liver (51% MeHg on average). Isotopic mass dependent values (δ202Hg) values were always higher in muscle than in liver and related to Hg species distribution. For mass independent isotopic signature, sea bass from the Aegean Sea had a systematically higher Δ199Hg value than individuals from the North sea (e.g.: 0,56 ± 0,05‰ and 0,32 ± 0,06‰ respectively in muscle). While mass dependent isotopic signature probably reflects some internal Hg metabolism, mass independent isotopic signature seems definitely site dependent. Such isotopic discrimination might be in agreement with difference in both mercury sources and cycling in the North and Aegean Seas. These preliminary results indicate that Hg isotopes may thus help to discriminate fish from different areas. This promising outcome must be further confirmed by extending the number of individuals and locations to be investigated. [less ▲]

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See detailHabitat use of a population of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus gephyreus, analyzed by means of Kernel Density Estimation (KDE) method
Cransveld, Alice ULg; Denoël, Mathieu ULg; Das, Krishna ULg et al

Poster (2014, April 09)

The San Antonio Bay (SAB), in Patagonia, Argentina, harbors a resident population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus gephyreus). It seems a privileged area to give birth and nurse calves. In the ... [more ▼]

The San Antonio Bay (SAB), in Patagonia, Argentina, harbors a resident population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus gephyreus). It seems a privileged area to give birth and nurse calves. In the context of declining populations worldwide and more particularly in South America, preserving the SAB population takes a considerable significance. Yet the SAB is facing human population growth and touristic development, which represent potential threats for the dolphin population, especially dolphin-watching activities. In this context, the aim of this study was to understand the bottlenose dolphin’s habitat use within the bay, and to consider how this information could be used in prospective management strategies. Particularly, we aimed at using the Kernel Density Estimation (KDE) method to map the intensity of space use for essential behavioural patterns. To this end, we collected behavioural information on dolphins during 25 boat-based surveys in the bay in 2011. The habitat use of the bay was heterogeneous: some areas were more intensely used than others. Dolphins spent most of their time traveling and diving. Variables associated to resting behaviours, e.g. school size and depth, indicated that the SAB would be a safer place compared to other known residency areas, confirming its suitability for conservation purposes. KDE analyses showed that behaviours are not evenly distributed inside the bay. Bottlenose dolphins being more sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances while engaged in resting or socializing behaviours, it is crucial to locate these behaviours. In SAB, the KDE shows that resting and socializing areas are located in the Northern part of the bay, indicating that it should constitute a priority protected area in potential future management strategies. Furthermore, our results show that the KDE method is an appropriate and advantageous tool when determining critical habitats, worth being more widely used. [less ▲]

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See detailUsing features of mercury and methylmercury to discriminate contamination profiles between sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, populations
Cransveld, Alice ULg; Amouroux, David; Koutrakis, Emmanuil et al

Poster (2014, March 07)

Despite many efforts consented in the last decades, Mercury (Hg) emissions have kept rising worldwide. Currently, anthropogenic inputs dominate Hg emissions to the atmosphere by far, natural releases ... [more ▼]

Despite many efforts consented in the last decades, Mercury (Hg) emissions have kept rising worldwide. Currently, anthropogenic inputs dominate Hg emissions to the atmosphere by far, natural releases accounting only for a 4th of the total. Because Hg has a stable gaseous form (Hg0) with a long residence time in the atmosphere (~1year), both natural and industrially produced Hg can be transported far from point sources. Therefore, many uncertainties remain in our knowledge about Hg biogeochemistry. Our study aims at identifying the different Hg forms found in marine predators in order to discriminate different polluted areas and potential pollution sources. More specifically, we seek to discriminate contaminations of local origins versus contamination of global origins. To achieve this, we are currently studying different sea bass, Dicentrarchus labrax, populations from the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean. In muscle, liver, kidney and brain tissues, we analyze total Mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg). We are also testing the discrimination power of Hg's stable isotopes (199Hg, 201Hg and 202Hg). Indeed, recent findings show that Hg isotopes can exhibit both mass-dependent (MDF) and mass-independent fractionation (MIF). This means that Hg isotopes provide two different types of information at once, both on biological cycling of Hg, including bioaccumulation (MDF), and on chemical pathways such as photochemical transformations (MIF). Eventually, we are planning to extend our results with compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) on the carbon of methylmercury. Preliminary analysis performed on 14 juvenile specimens from the North Sea and the Aegean Sea indicate that THg concentrations are higher in individuals from the North Sea than from Greece. The lack of correlation with size and weight indicate that it is likely linked to a difference in contamination levels between the two areas. MeHg is the predominant form of Hg in muscle, while the same cannot be asserted for liver. Mass dependent isotopic values (δ202Hg), were always higher in muscle than in liver and, for each tissue, values were similar between the two areas. This is probably related to the species distribution and to some internal Hg metabolism. For mass independent isotopic signature (MIF), sea bass from the Aegean Sea had a systematically higher Δ201Hg value than individuals from the North Sea. Thus, mass independent values seem definitely site dependent and might be in agreement with differences in both mercury sources and cycling in the North and Aegean Seas. These preliminary results consequently indicate that Hg isotopes may help to discriminate fish from different areas. This promising outcome must be further confirmed by extending our sampling and will be coupled to other results obtained through CSIA. [less ▲]

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