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See detailMetal bioavailability and bioaccumulation in the polychaete Nereis virens (Sars): the effects of site-specific sediment characteristics
Pini, Jennifer; Richir, Jonathan ULg; Watson, Gordon

in Marine Pollution Bulletin (2015), 95(2), 565575

The present study investigates the relationships between copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) concentrations in sediment, pore water and their bioaccumulation in the polychaete Nereis (Alitta) virens, as well as the ... [more ▼]

The present study investigates the relationships between copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) concentrations in sediment, pore water and their bioaccumulation in the polychaete Nereis (Alitta) virens, as well as the importance of site-specific sediment characteristics in that process. Sediment, pore water and N. virens were sampled from seven sites with different pollution histories along the English Channel coast. Results showed that site-specific metal levels and sediment characteristics were important in determining the bioavailability of metals to worms. Significant correlations were found between Cu in the sediment and in the pore water and between Zn in the pore water and in N. virens. Zn from the pore water was thus more readily available from a dissolved source to N. virens than Cu. Data also showed that metal concentrations in N. virens were lower than those found in other closely related polychaetes, indicating that it may regulate tissue concentrations of Cu and Zn. [less ▲]

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See detailSeagrasses or caged mussels to bioassess the contamination rate of Mediterranean coastal waters? That is the question
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Galgani, François; Benedicto, José et al

in PeerJ (2015, May)

Biological indicators have the capacity to integrate the temporal changes of contaminants, concentrations or fluxes over various time-scales, and are thus considered as interesting tools for water quality ... [more ▼]

Biological indicators have the capacity to integrate the temporal changes of contaminants, concentrations or fluxes over various time-scales, and are thus considered as interesting tools for water quality biomonitoring. Since the mid-70ies, French programs have developed water monitoring approaches based on the use of bivalve molluscs; and recently the natural background and the extent of water contamination were bioassessed at the scale of the whole western Mediterranean. But even if bivalve molluscs are viewed as reliable bioindicators, their use is not always made easy as a result of their absence in numerous coastal regions that force their transplantation (cages) during several months before their sampling and analysis. This weakness led several scientists to evaluate the bioindicator abilities of other marine organisms. Seagrasses, whose ability to bioaccumulate contaminants proportionally to environmental contamination levels has been clearly demonstrated, have thus been proposed as an appropriate alternative tool for coastal water quality assessment. Very little studies have however so far considered the combined utilization of these two groups of bioindicator organisms, i.e. caged bivalve molluscs and seagrasses. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, we therefore compared and discussed the bioaccumulation of trace elements in the Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica and in caged Mediterranean mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. The sampling was performed at the scale of the western Mediterranean. The two species told two contamination stories which, although sometimes different, showed to be complementary. P. oceanica and M. galloprovincialis bioaccumulated dissolved trace elements from the water column and thus provided information regarding trace element contamination severity integrated over several days to a few months. Seagrasses, strongly rooted in the sediments, reflected the long-term exposure to trace elements since sediments offer a degree of time integration over several years to decades. Caged mussels, as filter feeder artificially maintained in the water column, bioaccumulated trace elements from their particulate phase, and therefore gave valuable information regarding continental-terrigenous inputs to coastal waters. In conclusion, seagrasses and mussels should neither supplant, nor substitute, but rather complement each other in order to provide the full time- and space-integrated coastal contamination story of the Mediterranean. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element contamination severity of coastal waters: A first bioassessment at the scale of the whole Mediterranean Sea
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Salivas-Decaux, Maylis; Lafabrie, Céline et al

in PeerJ (2015, May)

Human activities generate large volumes of waste that supply marine coastal environments in pathogens, organic matter, nutrients and toxicants. Among the wide range of toxicants are trace elements. Since ... [more ▼]

Human activities generate large volumes of waste that supply marine coastal environments in pathogens, organic matter, nutrients and toxicants. Among the wide range of toxicants are trace elements. Since the latter are toxic for aquatic organisms from threshold levels and as they are therefore likely to cause multiple damage to the population, the community and the ecosystem levels, their environmental occurrence has to be accurately monitored in order to guarantee appropriate environmental management of coastal zones and to preserve marine coastal ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, the present study aimed to monitor, for the first time, the coastal contamination of the entire Mediterranean by As, Ag, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb, using Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile as bioindicator species. But sustainable coastal management also requires the development of appropriate contamination classification systems intended, among other purposes, for environmental managers and policy makers. The combined utilization of several complementary monitoring tools, i.e. water quality scale, pollution index (TEPI and TESVI) and spatial analysis (PCA, CA, correlation analysis and GIS mapping) successfully led to the development of an operational classification system of this kind. In particular, the mapping of the trace element contamination according to a new proposed 5-level water quality scale using the quantile method precisely outlined the contamination severity along Mediterranean coasts and facilitated interregional comparisons. The reliability of the use of P. oceanica as bioindicator species was further again demonstrated through several global, regional and local detailed case studies. In conclusion, holistic approaches such as developed in the present study should be privileged to accurately monitor the contamination rate of coastal waters and to transfer relevant information on this composite problem to environmental managers and policy makers. [less ▲]

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See detailBioassessment of trace element contamination of Mediterranean coastal waters using the seagrass Posidonia oceanica
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Salivas-Decaux, Maÿlis; Lafabrie, Céline et al

in Journal of Environmental Management (2015), 150

A large scale survey of the trace element (TE) contamination of Mediterranean coastal waters was performed from the analysis of Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb in the bioindicator Posidonia oceanica ... [more ▼]

A large scale survey of the trace element (TE) contamination of Mediterranean coastal waters was performed from the analysis of Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb in the bioindicator Posidonia oceanica, sampled at 110 sites differing by their levels of exposure to contaminants. The holistic approach developed in this study, based on the combined utilization of several complementary monitoring tools, i.e. water quality scale, pollution index and spatial analysis, accurately assessed the TE contamination rate of Mediterranean coastal waters. In particular, the mapping of the TE contamination according to a new proposed 5-level water quality scale precisely outlined the contamination severity along Mediterranean coasts and facilitated interregional comparisons. Finally, the reliability of the use of P. oceanica as bioindicator species was again demonstrated through several global, regional and local detailed case studies. NB: The designations employed and the presentation of the information in thisdocument do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the authors concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. [less ▲]

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See detailA consensual Diving-PAM protocol to monitor Posidonia oceanica photosynthesis
Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Silva, João et al

in PeerJ (2015)

The seagrass Posidonia oceanica is widely recognized as an effective bioindicator of the health status of Mediterranean coastal waters. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, in particular through the ... [more ▼]

The seagrass Posidonia oceanica is widely recognized as an effective bioindicator of the health status of Mediterranean coastal waters. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, in particular through the Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorometry method, are performed to study aquatic plant ecology and vitality and to assess their responses to diverse stressful factors. However, the current understanding of P. oceanica photosynthetic responses to environmental stresses does only allow scientists to use the PAM-method as a complementary tool to other more-robust monitoring techniques. Consequently, a more in-depth knowledge of the natural causes of variability of P. oceanica photosynthetic responses are a prerequisite to any surveys relying on that time and cost-effective method. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, this work aimed to determine the influence of several environmental (depth, daytime, season) and plant-specific characteristics (leaf age, leaf part analyzed, epiphytic coverage) on the photosynthetic responses (Y, ETR, RLC) of P. oceanica. Water temperature, irradiance and several biochemical parameters of the seagrass (chl.a, chl.b, C, N, P, micronutrients such as Fe, Cu) were measured as well. The field survey was performed in a pristine meadow in the Calvi Bay, Corsica. Environmental and plant-physiological characteristics deeply influenced P. oceanica photosynthetic responses. As an example, ETR decreased with depth, contrary to Y that mostly increased. ETR was lower in the basal part of leaf blade, and the epiphytic coverage of leaf tips slightly increased their ETR compared to leaf tips cleaned of epiphytes. Depth and leaf part-related variations in RLC were also observed. Because of this natural variability, it appears essential to develop a consensual protocol of chlorophyll fluorescence measurements to publish reliable and comparable results between studies. We therefore notably suggest to perform measurements close to midday, when photosynthetic responses are the highest; at 10-15 m depth in order to avoid, among others, low depth light irradiance variability; on the middle part of the 3rd-4th external leaf, well developed, highly photosynthetic, and little epiphyted. Finally, because P. oceanica fluorescence was correlated with N, P and chl.b leaf contents, the PAM-method could afterwards be used as bioindicator technique, according to the protocol proposed. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element kinetics in caged Mytilus galloprovincialis
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Donnay, Annick et al

Poster (2014, December)

Trace elements (TEs) remain contaminants of concern because of their persistence, ability to concentrate in organisms and toxicity. The Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 is a ... [more ▼]

Trace elements (TEs) remain contaminants of concern because of their persistence, ability to concentrate in organisms and toxicity. The Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 is a relevant bioindicator of TE coastal contamination. However, little research has studied the combined influence of environmental condition changes and physiological processes on their kinetics in that species. Caged M. galloprovincialis were thus immerged in 2 contrasted pristine Corsican (France) coastal environments, the semi-enclosed Diane salty pond and the open Calvi Bay, from February to June 2011. Mussels were regularly sampled to study the kinetics of 19 TEs in their flesh; dissolved and particulate TEs were also monitored. The primary production and the water physico-chemical variables were measured, and meteorological data were purchased from Météo-France. TE kinetics in mussels differed between sites. Mussel spawning, a temperature and saline-induced physiological process that occurred about 10 days later in the Diane pond, was followed by a short time increase of TE levels in the mussel flesh. Mussel contamination also evolved according to changes of their respective environmental TE levels. Raining events temporary led, in the Diane pond, to the water enrichment with TEs, nutrients and detrital material, to peaks of primary production and to the increase of TE concentrations in the mussel flesh. This step by step evolution of TE levels in the environment and mussels was afterwards followed by a rapid return to initial conditions. In the open Calvi Bay, these fast and balanced kinetics were not so obvious, because of the rapid dilution of environmental constrain effects in the Bay. Mussels are often used as bioindicator in estuaries and coastal enclosed meadows with rapidly changing environmental conditions. In such conditions, the influence of the environment on TE kinetics in mussels must be considered, in addition to physiological processes, when monitoring the TE coastal contamination. [less ▲]

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See detailEcology of 20 trace elements in Mytilus galloprovincialis
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Lejeune, Pierre et al

Conference (2014, December)

Trace elements (TEs) are considered as non-degradable pollutants. This persistent character can alter their natural biogeochemical balance in contaminated environments. TEs are further toxic for aquatic ... [more ▼]

Trace elements (TEs) are considered as non-degradable pollutants. This persistent character can alter their natural biogeochemical balance in contaminated environments. TEs are further toxic for aquatic organisms from threshold levels and are thus likely to cause multiple damages to the population, the community and the ecosystem levels. For these reasons, their environmental occurrence has to be accurately monitored. The main interest of the use of quantitative sentinel organisms to this end, or bioindicator species, is their capacity to give information on the bioavailability of environmental contaminants. Mussels from the genus Mytilus are particularly well suited organisms for the monitoring of the coastal contamination. Native wild and cultured Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 have been widely used since around 40 years to this purpose along coasts of the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. But the accurate use of a bioindicator relies on the detailed knowledge of its ecophysiology and the influence of environmental variables on the bioaccumulation processes. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, the ecology of 20 TEs in M. galloprovincialis is therefore investigated. The mussel morphometry and biology firstly define the TE accumulation processes. Accumulated TE are internally regulated and redistributed between body compartments; these internal processes notably depend on the essential or non-essential character of TEs. As filter feeder, mussels accumulate soluble and suspended TEs whose environmental levels are determined by the geomorphology, the physico-chemistry and the hydrology of monitored coastal meadows. All these factors are acting together to modulate the TE accumulation processes in mussels. TE bioaccumulated levels further balance quickly when any physiological or environmental changes occur in order to reach a new steady-state with environmental TE loads. The ecology of TEs in M. galloprovincialis is thus complex and very dynamic; these considerations must be taken into account when monitoring the chemical contamination of coastal meadows. [less ▲]

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See detailThe influence of bioavailable copper and zinc concentrations on metallothionein levels, DNA damage and gene expression in the polychaete Nereis (Alitta) virens (M. Sars, 1835)
Pini, Jennifer; Richir, Jonathan ULg; Watson, Gordon

Poster (2014, December)

Nereis (Alitta) virens is an ecologically and commercially important polychaete of intertidal soft sediment and an ideal species to investigate long term effects of metals. Using a spike approach, worms ... [more ▼]

Nereis (Alitta) virens is an ecologically and commercially important polychaete of intertidal soft sediment and an ideal species to investigate long term effects of metals. Using a spike approach, worms (1-3 g) were incubated for nine months in sediments spiked at environmentally relevant concentrations of copper, zinc and copper & zinc together: low (copper: 70 mg kg-1, zinc: 200 mg kg-1), medium (copper 120 mg kg-1, zinc: 270 mg kg-1) and high (copper 575 mg kg-1, zinc: 1160 mg kg-1) concentrations. These concentrations were based on an extensive sampling regime of sediment, pore water and worms from seven sites with different levels of contamination across the UK. Worms were fed and maintained under ambient conditions in a flow-through seawater system and sampled at 3, 6 and 9 months. Using BCR sequential extraction, bioavailable metal concentrations in the sediment were assessed in addition to pore water and tissues metal concentrations. The induction of metallothionein (MT) activity, especially at month 6, revealed the detoxification potential of N. virens under metal stress conditions. Significant correlations were obtained between copper bioavailable concentrations in the sediment and MT levels at month 3 and between zinc bioavailable concentrations in the sediment and MT levels at month 6. The highest DNA damage was recorded at month 3 for high copper & zinc combined treatment with 36.44%. Significant correlations were obtained between sediment bioavailable metal concentrations and DNA damage. In addition, the study of metal induced gene expression will reveal for the first time metal regulation process in the polychaete N. virens. This study showed that (1) not only high copper was toxic to N. virens but high copper & zinc combined treatment was the most toxic to the worms and (2) MT and DNA damage were sensitive and reliable endpoints used to evaluate copper and zinc toxicity. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalysing spatiotemporal changes in sediment contamination
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Pini, Jennifer; White, Shannon et al

Poster (2014, November)

Coastal environments are subjected to anthropogenic threats, of which pollution by trace elements (TEs). They remain chemicals of concern because of their toxicity, their ability to be concentrated in ... [more ▼]

Coastal environments are subjected to anthropogenic threats, of which pollution by trace elements (TEs). They remain chemicals of concern because of their toxicity, their ability to be concentrated in biota and their persistence in sediment. Aware of these threats, monitoring agencies perform large environmental surveys. However, the databases generated often remain underexploited, even though they represent an important source of information for scientists. As a case study, we focused on the highly industrialized and developed coastal area of the Solent, south coast of the UK, which is also a European Marine site with protected habitats and species. To date, no scientific-based spatiotemporal trend has been published regarding its pollution in TEs. But mining of existing databases requested from the Environmental Agency and the Marine Environment Monitoring and Assessment National database showed that sediment from 32 sites were/are indeed monitored for that purpose, covering a 22 years period (1992-2013). Temporal trend analysis showed that sediment contamination significantly decreased during that time interval (45 % decrease in median). However, all TEs still show concentrations above Sediment Quality Guidelines. Important spatial variability is also present, presumably linked to the distribution of pollutant anthropogenic sources. Taken together, these data have been used to provide stakeholders with relevant scientific based tools, i.e. GIS maps of the contamination in TEs in the Solent. This regional-level assessment enables local stakeholders to create bridges between environmental scientists and local authorities and valorizes the existing databases, for future governance at the regional and national scales. [less ▲]

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See detailThe conceptualization of trace element flows within Posidonia oceanica meadows: a collaborative proposal to fill knowledge gaps
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in Langar, H.; Bouafif, C.; Ouerghi, A. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 5th Mediterranean Symposium on Marine Vegetation (2014, October)

The Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is regarded as a relevant indicator of bioavailable trace elements (TEs) since it efficiently and proportionally bioaccumulates these chemicals ... [more ▼]

The Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is regarded as a relevant indicator of bioavailable trace elements (TEs) since it efficiently and proportionally bioaccumulates these chemicals from its surrounding environment. Recent studies have further brought supplementary insights in our understanding of the processes driving TE kinetics within that species. But at a higher degree of organization, the distribution and flows of TEs between P. oceanica meadow components, i.e. seagrass shoots, epiphytes, associated algae and animals and detritus, have not been investigated yet. The present study therefore aims to propose a conceptualization model of P. oceanica meadows, regarded as the juxtaposition of the 5 separate components listed above exchanging flows of TEs between themselves and with their environment, i.e. water and sediment. This model can be drawn in energy circuit language. By writing such a model, one in essence is writing equations describing a system. To be relevant, its elaboration requires the compilation of a large amount of quantitative data. This conceptualization can thus be regarded as a collaborative innovation requiring scientists to fill the model through the continuous supplement of new data. In fine, this model will lead to the exact quantification of the role played by P. oceanica meadows in the coastal biogeochemistry of TEsin the Mediterranean. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element bioaccumulation and compartmentalization in the invasive algae Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea from the Calvi Bay, Corsica
Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Richir, Jonathan ULg

in Langar, H.; Bouafif, C.; Ouerghi, A. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 5th Mediterranean Symposium on Marine Vegetation (2014, October)

The algae Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea (Sonder) was first observed along Corsican coasts in 2002 (Ruitton et al., 2005), and more recently in the Calvi Bay (northwestern Corsica) in 2008. Numerous ... [more ▼]

The algae Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea (Sonder) was first observed along Corsican coasts in 2002 (Ruitton et al., 2005), and more recently in the Calvi Bay (northwestern Corsica) in 2008. Numerous works have studied the distribution of that invasive species and the factors driving its rapid expansion, as well as the resulting ecological impacts on native coastal communities (Klein and Verlaque, 2008). However, very little is known regarding C. racemosa biochemistry and its natural ability to concentrate trace elements (TEs). In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, this work therefore aimed to study the bioaccumulation and the compartmentalization of 19 TEs in this macroalgae. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatiotemporal evolution of the distribution of trace elements in the sediments of the English Channel
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Pini, Jennifer; White, Shannon et al

Scientific conference (2014, September 18)

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See detailMapping key pollutants in the English Channel region: the Channel Catchments Cluster (3C) cross-border project
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Pini, Jennifer; Watson, Gordon

Conference (2014, August 16)

The EU Water Framework Directive was a response to concerns about the previous disparate ways in which water quality was managed under Member State law and early European Directives. Within this context ... [more ▼]

The EU Water Framework Directive was a response to concerns about the previous disparate ways in which water quality was managed under Member State law and early European Directives. Within this context, the Interreg IVA France (Channel) England Region established the ‘sustainable environmental development of this common space’ as one of its priorities to integrate areas that face common problems. The wide variety of cooperative cross-border projects have brought together UK and French scientists and environmental managers to develop practical environmental management tools for the region (3Cs cluster). Using the Solent in the UK as a case study, maps of key pollutants (e.g. metals such as Zn and Cu) will be produced to assess their spatial diversity within the sediment. The incorporation of historical datasets will also provide a temporal component. The inclusion of bioavailable fractions (using sequential extraction methods) will enable the pollutants to be linked to the tissue concentrations of key benthic species such as the polychaete Nereis virens and possible impacts. Not only will this information provide a detailed account of the water quality of key areas of the English Channel, but it will also highlight the gaps in the data and sampling regimes that are necessary to achieve good environmental status for the future, thus ensuring more effective European environmental policy regarding the long-term protection and conservation of aquatic ecosystems. [less ▲]

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See detailSite-specific sediment characteristics impact on metal bioavailability and bioaccumulation in the Polychaete Nereis virens
Pini, Jennifer; Richir, Jonathan ULg; Watson, Gordon

Poster (2014, May 15)

The king ragworm (Nereis virens) is a cosmopolitan species of soft sediment inter-tidal communities and is known to be impacted by various pollutants. More precisely, in many coastal locations, N. virens ... [more ▼]

The king ragworm (Nereis virens) is a cosmopolitan species of soft sediment inter-tidal communities and is known to be impacted by various pollutants. More precisely, in many coastal locations, N. virens is exposed to a range of metals including copper and zinc which are known to be highly toxic. However, the relationships between metal bioavailable concentrations in the sediment, the pore water and the tissues of N. virens have not yet been investigated in this is ecologically and commercially important species. Hence, to investigate these relationships, sediment, pore water and associated worms samples were collected from seven sites along the English Channel coast of the UK, chosen for their different pollution histories. The BCR three-step sequential extraction procedure was used to assess the bioavailable metal concentrations in the sediment, in conjunction to standard extraction techniques to determine the tissue and the pore water concentrations. All samples were measured by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (FAAS). Results from correlation analyses showed that site specificities and metal pollution histories along with sediment characteristics (organic content and particle size) were important factors regarding the bioavailability of copper and zinc to worms. Indeed, sediment organic content and grain size were positively correlated to metal bioavailable concentrations in the sediment. Strong correlations were found between copper bioavailability in the sediment and in the pore water and between zinc concentrations in the pore water and in N. virens. These results showed that zinc from the pore water was more readily bioavailable to N. virens than copper. However, our data suggested that N. virens accumulated metals regardless of the pollution history/level of the sites. In addition, our data showed that metal concentrations in N. virens were lower than those found in other closely related polychaetes such as N. diversicolor. This suggests that N. virens, unlike other polychaetes, is well adapted to highly contaminated sites by the possible use of specific metal regulation mechanisms, which would require further analysis. [less ▲]

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See detailCadmium and mercury sediment pollution along the British coastline of the Channel: A first spatio-temporal integrated approach
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Pini, Jennifer; Watson, Gordon

Poster (2014, May 15)

Cadmium (Cd) and Mercury (Hg) are 2 widespread trace metals occurring in both terrestrial and marine environments. They play no physiological role and are often toxic even at low concentrations and were ... [more ▼]

Cadmium (Cd) and Mercury (Hg) are 2 widespread trace metals occurring in both terrestrial and marine environments. They play no physiological role and are often toxic even at low concentrations and were therefore identified as priority hazardous substances under the European Water Framework Directive and included in the European List I of Dangerous Substances. Marine sediments are considered as the ultimate sink of non-degradable metals, where they can accumulate in considerable quantities. The UK coastline has been polluted with metals for decades or even centuries and, although many studies have monitored sediment metal loads in specific locations, there has been no recent systematic monitoring approach along the whole of the south coast. In addition, few reliable data exist on decadal temporal trends for most sediment pollutants. Focusing on Cd and Hg, we have investigated their spatial and temporal distribution in sediment samples collected from 42 sites along the English coast of the Channel from 1990 to 2010. From a temporal point of view, data analyses showed that mean Cd levels in sediments significantly decreased by 59 % during that period of time, from 0.78 to 0.32 mg kgDW-1 of sediments. This reflects a decrease globally to below the 0.70 mg kgDW-1 Cd Threshold Effect Level (TEL). Adverse effects caused by Cd on the biota should, therefore, be rare. Spatially, Cd displayed an east-to-west increase of its levels, with several western sites with Cd still above the TEL. Regarding Hg, sediment levels did not significantly change from 1990 to 2010, remaining approximately twice as high as the corresponding 0.13 mg kgDW-1 Hg TEL. Hg also displayed an east-to-west increase of its levels, whilst 55 % of monitored sites had a mean sediment Hg concentration in average 3.5 times higher than the TEL. Despite regulations, non-degradable metals such as Cd and Hg that have accumulated in sediments over considerable periods of time may consequently still pose threats to aquatic organisms, highlighting the need for continued extensive spatially and temporally integrated monitoring approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element bioaccumulation in rope-grown Mytilus galloprovincialis: knowledge update
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

Poster (2014, May 12)

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the ... [more ▼]

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the use of bioindicator species, such as the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (Lamarck, 1819). That species has been widely used to monitor the chemical pollution of coastal ecosystems by Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, As, Ag and V. Conversely, environmental levels of Be, Al, Fe, Mn, Co, Se, Mo, Sn, Sb and Bi have been little or not monitored so far in mussel watch programs. Bioaccumulation processes of these 19 TEs in rope-grown M. galloprovincialis purchased from a salt pond with good chemical water quality were thus investigated in the present study. Mussels efficiently accumulated the 19 studied TEs. Bioaccumulation processes were driven by numerous mutually dependent biological parameters such as the mussel size and flesh weight, the sex and the reproductive status and the body compartment considered. TE bioaccumulation was a power function of the mussel soft body dry weight; total contents linearly increased with the shell length. Small-size mussels overall concentrated more TEs, with a high interindividual variability, consequently influencing the modelling of their bioaccumulation in the whole rope population. Although a large range of rope-grown M. galloprovincialis sizes can be used for monitoring purposes, one will thus take care not to use extreme size individuals. The influence of gametogenesis in determining female body higher TE concentrations prior to spawning could not be neglected and varied depending on the element. TEs were preferentially accumulated in the hepatopancreas, except for Zn, Se, Cd and Mo, more concentrated in gills. Gametogenesis did not influence TE distribution between body compartments, but likely diluted their concentrations as a direct consequence of massive reproductive tissue production. So, results from the present study underlined the potential use of M. galloprovincialis in the biomonitoring of numerous little studied TEs and gave some insights into the decisive role played by some relevant biological parameters in bioaccumulation processes of the 19 investigated TEs in rope-grown mussels. [less ▲]

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See detailNew insights for an old topic: seagrasses as bioindicators of coastal trace element pollution
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lejeune, Pierre; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in ARGYRO ZENETOS, ZENETOS (Ed.) Mediterranean Marine Science (2014, March)

The marine magnoliophyte Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile has been widely used since the mid-70th to biomonitor the coastal pollution of the Mediterranean in Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb and/or Fe. In contrast ... [more ▼]

The marine magnoliophyte Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile has been widely used since the mid-70th to biomonitor the coastal pollution of the Mediterranean in Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb and/or Fe. In contrast, other trace elements (TEs) like As, V, Ag, Be, Al, Mn, Co, Se, Mo, Sn, Sb and Bi, many of them categorized as TEs of environmental emerging concern, have been subject to nearly no ecotoxicological survey with that species. It has been shown that the French Mediterranean littoral was submitted to local, diffuse and/or chronic contaminations both by TEs broadly or little biomonitored with P. oceanica; high TE levels could further be linked to specific anthropic activities such as agriculture (Mo), mining (Cr, Sb, Zn), industries (As), storage and refinement of oil products (V, Pb) or presence of major ports and urban centres (Sn, Bi, Ag). It seems therefore necessary to expand the short list of the seven metals commonly monitored to other TEs, what is today easily achievable as current analytical methods allow the simultaneous determination of all a series of TEs within the same sample. Furthermore, only a multielement analysis in appropriate bioindicator species allow to correctly intercompare the pollution status of numerous sampling sites. To do this, we have calculated proper environmental indices, the trace element pollution index TEPI and the trace element spatial variation index TESVI. The TEPI is an index of the global contamination of a site, giving the same weight to each TE after mean normalization of their environmental concentrations. The TESVI estimates the global spatial variability of environmental concentrations of each TE levels, taking into account both punctual contaminations in impacted sites and the overall coastal spatial heterogeneity between all monitored sites.These two indices were successfully applied both at large (French Mediterranean littoral) and small (a Bay) spatial scales. Furthermore, they can be used in the framework of an intercomparative study compiling data from any previous monitoring surveys. We also highlighted that the ecophysiology and surrounding levels of TEs influenced in an equivalent manner the bioaccumulation process of TEs in P. oceanica. Consequently, this natural cyclic evolution of TE concentrations should be systematically quantified in regional reference sites. Finally, the rapid and proportionnal accumulation of TEs in P. oceanica traps huge amounts of contaminants and can stock them for longer periods of time in their bellow grounds tissues. P. oceanica meadows therefore play an efficient role of natural filter of TE coastal pollutions. [less ▲]

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See detailA reassessment of the use of Posidonia oceanica and Mytilus galloprovincialis to biomonitor the coastal pollution of trace elements: New tools and tips
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in Marine Pollution Bulletin (2014), 89

The present study gives a summary using state-of-the-art technology to monitor Posidonia oceanica and Mytilus galloprovincialis as bioindicators of the pollution of the Mediterranean littoral with trace ... [more ▼]

The present study gives a summary using state-of-the-art technology to monitor Posidonia oceanica and Mytilus galloprovincialis as bioindicators of the pollution of the Mediterranean littoral with trace elements (TEs), and discusses their complementarity and specificities in terms of TE bioaccumulation. Furthermore, this study presents two complementary indices, the Trace Element Spatial Variation Index (TESVI) and the Trace Element Pollution Index (TEPI): these indices were shown to be relevant monitoring tools since they led to the ordering of TEs according to the overall spatial variability of their environmental levels (TESVI) and to the relevant comparison of the global TE pollution between monitored sites (TEPI). In addition, this study also discusses some underestimated aspects of P. oceanica and M. galloprovincialis bioaccumulation behaviour, with regard to their life style and ecophysiology. It finally points out the necessity of developing consensual protocols between monitoring surveys in order to publish reliable and comparable results. [less ▲]

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See detailThe effect of size, weight, body compartment, sex and reproductive status on the bioaccumulation of 19 trace elements in rope-grown Mytilus galloprovincialis
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in Ecological Indicators (2014), 36

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the ... [more ▼]

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the use of bioindicator species, such as the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (Lamarck, 1819). That species has been widely used to monitor the chemical pollution of coastal ecosystems by Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, As, Ag and V. Conversely, environmental levels of Be, Al, Fe, Mn, Co, Se, Mo, Sn, Sb and Bi have been little or not monitored so far in mussel watch programs. Bioaccumulation processes of these 19 TEs in rope-grown M. galloprovincialis purchased from a salt pond with good chemical water quality were thus investigated in the present study. Mussels efficiently accumulated the 19 studied TEs. Bioaccumulation processes were driven by numerous mutually dependent biological parameters such as the mussel size and flesh weight, the sex and the reproductive status and the body compartment considered. TE bioaccumulation was a power function of the mussel soft body dry weight; total contents linearly increased with the shell length. Small-size mussels overall concentrated more TEs, with a high inter-individual variability, consequently influencing the modelling of their bioaccumulation in the whole rope population. Although a large range of rope-grown M. galloprovincialis sizes can be used for monitoring purposes, one will thus take care not to use extreme size individuals. The influence of gametogenesis in determining female body higher TE concentrations prior to spawning could not be neglected and varied depending on the element. TEs were preferentially accumulated in the hepatopancreas, except for Zn, Se, Cd and Mo, more concentrated in gills. Gametogenesis did not influence TE distribution between body compartments, but likely diluted their concentrations as a direct consequence of massive reproductive tissue production. So, results from the present study underline the potential use of M. galloprovincialis in the biomonitoring of numerous little studied TEs and give some insights into the decisive role played by some relevant biological parameters in bioaccumulation processes of the 19 investigated TEs in rope-grown mussels. [less ▲]

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See detailThe underestimation of seagrass biological cycle in the biomonitoring of coastal trace element pollution
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Sartoretto, Stéphane; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

Poster (2013, December)

Previous monitoring surveys using the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile mostly studied coastal pollutions in Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb and/or Fe and the distribution of their ... [more ▼]

Previous monitoring surveys using the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile mostly studied coastal pollutions in Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb and/or Fe and the distribution of their bioaccumulated levels between the seagrass compartments. In contrast, other trace elements (TEs) like As, V, Ag, Be, Al, Mn, Co, Se, Mo, Sn, Sb and Bi, many of them categorized as TEs of environmental emerging concern, have been subject to nearly no ecotoxicological survey with that species. Moreover, the understanding of the seasonal variation of TE levels according to the seagrass biological cycle, a prerequisite to the intercomparison of sites sampled at different periods of the year, has been little investigated. P. oceanica were thus seasonally collected for TE analyses from March 2008 to November 2010 in the Calvi Bay (Corsica, France), a reference site for the northwestern Mediterranean, and near the sewer outfall of Marseille city (France). Results showed that levels of the 19 studied TEs evolved seasonally according to the seagrass biological cycle. So, foliar levels of Cr, Pb, Mn or Bi, preferentially accumulated in older leaves, increased from spring to autumn, as the number of adult leaves. V, Se, As or Sb evolved similarly to the shoot foliar surface, reflecting the plant growth. Cu levels, an essential micronutrient, were lower when summer requirements for leaf growth were high. Al foliar levels evolved similarly to rhizome and root levels, resulting from its acropetal translocation. However, in the anthropized Marseille site, environmental variables non-intrinsic to the seagrass ecophysiology could perturb this seasonal variation. This survey allowed highlighting the proportionally equivalent roles played by both the seagrass biological cycle and its environment in the bioaccumulation process of TEs. This cyclic evolution should therefore be systematically quantified in regional reference sites in order to properly intercompare results from biomonitoring surveys. [less ▲]

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