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See detailEcoNum, a research unit devoted to marine environment monitoring
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Batigny, Antoine; Georges, Nadège et al

Conference (2016, October 27)

The monitoring of coastal environments remains a research domain of great interest and concern. Coastal ecosystems are threatened by natural and human-induced stressors and are, as transitional ... [more ▼]

The monitoring of coastal environments remains a research domain of great interest and concern. Coastal ecosystems are threatened by natural and human-induced stressors and are, as transitional environments, particularly sensitive to disturbances. EcoNum first research thematic revolves around hermatypic corals, calcifying organisms, and their adaptation potentials to environmental changes including by using original and patented chemostats. The studied organisms are grown and maintained in artificial mesocosms that simulate environmental conditions of a natural system. This infrastructure allows to perform long-term experiments, giving time to organisms to adapt to the tested conditions (e.g., increased temperature or lowered pH). Longer-term studies have demonstrated that many organisms are more resistant to environmental stressors than previously observed on the short-term. EcoNum also studies coastal plankton abundance and diversity. Plankton is particularly sensitive to physicochemical changes of water bodies. The classification and the enumeration of planktonic organisms require specialized tools in order to analyse time series of multiple samples. EcoNum has developed a software for the semi-automatic classification of planktonic organisms called Zoo/PhytoImage. This software has been used to study a 10-year time series of coastal Mediterranean zooplankton samples. The concomitant analysis of environmental parameters registered at high frequency with specific statistical tools such as the R package pastecs allows to understand the processes governing the changes observed in plankton assemblages. The use and the development of statistical tools in R (e.g., Zoo/Phytoimage, pastecs) is a priority of EcoNum to favour open access knowledge and reproductive sciences. EcoNum research topics also focus on coastal ecotoxicology. Chemicals, including trace elements, remain contaminants of concern, mainly in coastal environments that are the final sink of inland pollution sources. The chemical integrity of coastal ecosystems thus has to be accurately monitored. The partitioning of chemicals between their dissolved, particulate and sedimentary phases does not provide information on their bioavailability. EcoNum thus monitors coastal waters using bioindicator species such as seagrasses, mussels or sand worms. A global map of the contamination of the Mediterranean by trace elements has been drawn using seagrasses has bioindicator species. EcoNum also studies trace element ecology and toxicology. For instance, it has demonstrated the toxicity of copper on the coral Seriatopora hystrix and it's symbiont's photosynthetic processes, or its bioaccumulation and basipetal translocation towards rhizomes in the seagrass Posidonia oceanica as reserve nutrient for subsequent leaf growth. Finally, coastal vegetated systems are potential carbon thinks (or sources) in the global carbon cycle. Therefore, EcoNum studies the primary productivity of seagrass meadows, from the individual to the community, with measuring techniques as diverse as PAM-fluorometry or biomass production determination. To conclude, EcoNum is a research unit devoted to marine environment monitoring. It develops research thematics on major coastal communities such as coral reefs, seagrass beds or plankton assemblages and studies their natural dynamics and the effects of stressors on their global functioning. [less ▲]

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See detailA one year survey of seagrass primary productivity using the diving-PAM technique
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Abadie, Arnaud; Grosjean, Philippe et al

Poster (2016, October 18)

Marine magnoliophytes are major primary producers in coastal benthic habitats worldwide. They play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle (one of the more efficient blue carbon wells). Hence, it is ... [more ▼]

Marine magnoliophytes are major primary producers in coastal benthic habitats worldwide. They play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle (one of the more efficient blue carbon wells). Hence, it is necessary to characterise the eco-systemic services seagrass meadows provide. Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, the main Mediterranean seagrass species, has high foliar and belowground biomass production. Several methods have been used so far to measure its primary production (e.g., using incubation bells, optodes, biomass and elementary content measurements). A less used method relies on chlorophyll fluorescence measurements through the Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorometry method (Diving - PAM). In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, this study aimed to determine weekly to bimonthly over a one-year period the photosynthetic responses (Yield, relative Electron Transfer Rate, Rapid Light Curve) of P. oceanica. The survey was performed at 10m depth in a pristine meadow (Calvi, Corsica, France). To obtain reliable and comparable data, the protocol was standardized: measurements were performed on the convex middle part of the third leaf, at zenith, during shiny and calm weather days. Results showed that the plant displayed a well-marked seasonality. The mean ETR (μmol e- m-2 s-1 ) of the plant ranged from 2.17 in winter to 21.9 in summer and was linearly correlated throughout the year with the in situ irradiance (PAR irradiance taken perpendicularly to the surface, in the average leaf orientation). The ETR plateaus of the RLCs, ranging from 10.9 to 35.0, and their corresponding maximum PAR intensities evolved similarly. These results demonstrated both the adaptation and the seasonal plasticity of the meadow’s photosynthetic system. Overall the non-destructive PAM technique is a powerful and cost-effective tool to assess the primary productivity of seagrass meadows where other techniques (e.g. optodes) cannot be used and when direct sampling (e.g. biomass measurements) is not allowed. [less ▲]

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See detailInvestigating the potential of Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson as a coastal carbon sink coupling marine habitat cartographies and in situ nondestructive sampling
Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Richir, Jonathan ULg; Pieraccini, Riccardo ULg et al

Poster (2016, October)

Seagrass meadows are major carbon sinks, trapping about 10% of the total CO2 sequestrated in the oceans. In the Mediterranean, a major focus has been made on the climax species Posidonia oceanica (L ... [more ▼]

Seagrass meadows are major carbon sinks, trapping about 10% of the total CO2 sequestrated in the oceans. In the Mediterranean, a major focus has been made on the climax species Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, while other species remained little studied. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, we thus chose to study Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson, a pioneer species with a rapid turnover and an expected high stocking capacity. Furthermore, the area covered by that species has been largely underestimated. In order to fill these two knowledge gaps, we first mapped all seagrass habitats within a Mediterranean bay (Calvi, Corsica, France) using side scan images, aerial photographs and ground truths. This cartography was followed by seasonal in situ density measurements and non-destructive shoot sampling (leaf cutting). Samplings were performed at different depths (5 to 23 m depth) in 6 contrasted stations (small patchy meadows to continuous beds) in order to cover all the existing facies of the bay. Elementary contents (carbon, nitrogen and stable isotope ratios) were measured in laboratory. This first work shows that C. nodosa meadows in Calvi Bay cover an area of 0.498 km2. Carbon stocks of the leaves reached 0.25 tons in winter and 2.72 tons in summer. Their nitrogen contents showed a marked seasonality with a maximum value of 0.020 mgN.m-2 in July and a minimum value of 0.005 mgN.m-2 in March. Some modifications in the trophic conditions of the water column at several stations were put in an obvious through the N stable isotopes values, mostly during the summer period. The actual underestimation of the area covered by that species in Calvi Bay has been properly mapped thanks to side scan sonar techniques revealing, together with elementary content analysis, its importance in the carbon balance of coastal areas. [less ▲]

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See detailModelling nitrogen incorporation by primary producers of a Mediterranean coastal area
Elkalay, Khalid; Frangoulis, Constantin; Richir, Jonathan ULg et al

Conference (2016, May 11)

The aim of this study was to simulate the uptake flow of nitrogen (gN m-2) of P. oceanica meadow for 4 primary producers of the bay of Calvi (Corsica, France) (phytoplankton, macro-algae, the Posidonia ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to simulate the uptake flow of nitrogen (gN m-2) of P. oceanica meadow for 4 primary producers of the bay of Calvi (Corsica, France) (phytoplankton, macro-algae, the Posidonia oceanica leaves and their epiphytes). The model developed for this purpose simulates the evolution of nitrogen incorporation. The effect of the light intensity, and the water column temperature and concentration in internal and external nitrogen on nitrogen incorporation by the 4 primary producers is modeled. Thus, the incorporation rate of both NO3-and NH4+by phytoplankton was more important than for benthic producers. Macro-algae incorporations had intermediate incorporation rates between the ones of, the phytoplankton and P. oceanic leaves and their epiphytes. The incorporation of NH4+ by the phytoplankton is higher than the incorporation of NO3-. The model appears well adapted to establish the main environmental factors that determine the incorporation of inorganic nitrogen by the various primary producers. It is also able to represent the relative importance of nitrogen incorporation by the various producers. [less ▲]

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See detailEnvironmental monitoring: between science and decision-making
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Lejeune, Pierre et al

Scientific conference (2016, April 13)

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See detailEstimating carbon fluxes in a Posidonia oceanica system: Paradox of the bacterial carbon demand
Velimirov, Branko; Lejeune, Pierre; Kirschner, A. et al

in Estuarine Coastal & Shelf Science (2016), 171

A mass balance ecosystemic approach, based on bacterial carbon demands and primary production data, was used to investigate if the bacterial community (freewater bacterioplankton and benthic bacteria of ... [more ▼]

A mass balance ecosystemic approach, based on bacterial carbon demands and primary production data, was used to investigate if the bacterial community (freewater bacterioplankton and benthic bacteria of the oxygenated sediment layer) could be sustained by the main primary producers (Posidonia oceanica and its epiphytes, adjacent macroalgae and phytoplankton communities; hereafter called the P. oceanica system) of a non-eutrophic Mediterranean bay. Unexpectedly, the findings of this study differed from previous works that used benthic incubation chamber and O2 optode methods. In this study, data were grouped in two categories, corresponding to two time periods, according to the seawater temperature regime (<18 °C or >18 °C): from May to October and from November to April. Between May and October, the produced benthic macrophyte tissues could not provide the carbon required by the bacteria of the oxygenated sediment layer, showing that the balance production of the investigated bay was clearly heterotrophic (i.e. negative) during this time period. In contrast, between November and April, benthic bacteria respiration nearly equated to carbon production. When integrating the open water carbon dynamics above the meadow in the model, a negative carbon balance was still observed between May and October, while a slight carbon excess was noticed between November and April. In the light of these findings, the carbon balance being negative on an annual basis, alternative carbon sources are required for the maintenance of the bacterial carbon production. [less ▲]

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See detailEffets anthropiques sur les écosystèmes marins
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Grosjean, Philippe

Scientific conference (2016, January 28)

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See detailTemporal evolution of sand corridors in a Posidonia oceanica seascape: a 15-years study
Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Pelaprat, Corinne et al

in Mediterranean Marine Science (2016), 17(3), 777-784

The spatial dynamic of Posidonia oceanica meadows is a process extending over centuries. This paper shows evidence of the natural dynamics of P. oceanica “shifting intermattes” or “sand corridors” ... [more ▼]

The spatial dynamic of Posidonia oceanica meadows is a process extending over centuries. This paper shows evidence of the natural dynamics of P. oceanica “shifting intermattes” or “sand corridors” (hereafter SCs): unvegetated patches within a dense meadow. We studied features and temporal evolution (2001-2015) of 5 SCs in the Calvi Bay (Corsica) at 15 m depth and followed the characteristics the P. oceanica meadow lining the edge of patches. All SCs show a similar morphology. The eroded side is a vertical edge where roots, rhizomes and sediments are visible, when on the opposite colonized side, the sand is at the same level as the continuous meadow. The vertical edge reaches a maximum height of 160 cm and is eroded by orbital bottom currents with a maximum speed of 12 cm.s-1, the erosion speed ranging from 0.6 to 15 cm.y-1. SCs progress toward the coastline with a mean speed of 10 cm.y-1, the rate of colonization by P. oceanica shoots ranging from 1.5 to 21 cm.y-1. We calculated that the studied SCs would reach the coastline within 500 to 600 years. We finally discuss the implication of such dynamic in the framework of meadows’ colonization assessment and the seascape dynamic. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace Elements in Marine Environments : Occurrence, Threats and Monitoring with Special Focus on the Costal Mediterranean
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology (2016), 6:1

Trace elements, as building blocks of matter, are naturally present in the environment. However, their extraction, production, use and release by men can lead to the increase of their environmental levels ... [more ▼]

Trace elements, as building blocks of matter, are naturally present in the environment. However, their extraction, production, use and release by men can lead to the increase of their environmental levels to concentrations that may be toxic for both men and the biota. The overall aim of this review is therefore to recall that trace elements remain contaminants of concern that still require scientific attention. Because marine coastal systems (and transitional environments in general) are particularly vulnerable to contamination processes, they deserve to be accurately monitored with quality indicator species. As an example, the 2 most widely quality indicator species used to assess the health status of the coastal Mediterranean are the seagrass Posidonia oceanica and the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. In this review, after a short introduction on human pressures on the World Ocean and the coastal Mediterranean in particular (1), we will redefine the term trace element from an environmental perspective and discuss their accumulation and toxicity for men and the biota (2). We will consider the benefits of using biological indicators instead of water and sediment measurements to assess the health status of the marine environment (3), and more particularly as regards the accurate and complementary indicators that are seagrasses (4) and mussels (5). [less ▲]

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See detailAn ecophysiological discussion of trace element bioaccumulation in cultured Mytilus galloprovincialis
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in Belgian Journal of Zoology (2016), 145(1), 53-61

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See detailSTAtion of Reference and rEsearch on Change of local and global Anthropogenic Pressures on Mediterranean Ecosystems Drifts: The STARECAPMED project
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Binard, Marc ULg et al

Conference (2015, November 08)

The Marine and Oceanographic Research Station STARESO in the Calvi Bay, Corsica (France), is a unique tool in a preserved natural site that includes all the characteristic ecosystems of the Mediterranean ... [more ▼]

The Marine and Oceanographic Research Station STARESO in the Calvi Bay, Corsica (France), is a unique tool in a preserved natural site that includes all the characteristic ecosystems of the Mediterranean littoral. The station, established in 1970, has archived environmental data for decades. The STARECAPMED project, multidisciplinary, articulates itself around these two main features. Its objective is to understand how human activities can interact with the fundamental processes that govern the functioning of the different coastal ecosystems of a Mediterranean bay. The understanding of these interactions involves: (i) the identification of the anthropogenic pressures; (ii) the quantification of their impacts on the ecosystems; (iii) the prioritization of these impacts. STARECAPMED also aims to confirm the relevance of the use of the Calvi Bay as a reference in the study of local and global pressures and the changes they may cause on the structure and the functioning of Mediterranean coastal ecosytems. [less ▲]

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See detail) The spatial variability of trace element bioaccumulation processes: Tools to environmental management
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lejeune, Lejeune; Lepoint, Gilles ULg et al

Conference (2015, November 07)

As transitional environments, coastal meadows are particularly vulnerable to pollution. Trace elements remain contaminants of concern because of their persistence, their ability to accumulate in biota and ... [more ▼]

As transitional environments, coastal meadows are particularly vulnerable to pollution. Trace elements remain contaminants of concern because of their persistence, their ability to accumulate in biota and their toxicity. Local, regional, national and cross-border programs are thus initiated to monitor their environmental occurrence. Sentinel organisms, or bioindicators, have been widely used to this end since they accumulate the bioavailable and thus potentially toxic fraction of contaminants. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, the accumulation of trace elements in the seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile was studied at different spatial scales: along a radial (100 m scale), in a bay (1 km scale), along the French Mediterranean littoral (10-100 km scale) and along the whole Mediterranean coastline (100-1000 km scale). Results showed that the contamination of the sampled shoots could vary as much at opposite scales. This benthic primary producer accumulates contaminants sequestered in the sediments, in addition to their dissolved fraction in the water column. The sediments also offer a time integration of coastal pollution and thus amplify the pollution signal recorded by the seagrass, resulting in the observed spatial variability. These results demonstrate that the in-depth knowledge of the ecology of the monitored bioindicator and the interactions it shares with its environment cannot be ignored. Such failure could lead to erroneous interpretations of the levels of contamination of monitored sites, and points out the need to define a sampling strategy based on the monitoring objectives and the selected bioindicator. [less ▲]

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See detailThe trace element contamination of coastal waters: A holistic approach to environmental monitoring surveys
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

Conference (2015, November 07)

Sustained monitoring programs are necessary to evidence the efficacy of regulatory controls on pollutant discharges and to assess the health status of ecosystems. Within this perspective, this study aimed ... [more ▼]

Sustained monitoring programs are necessary to evidence the efficacy of regulatory controls on pollutant discharges and to assess the health status of ecosystems. Within this perspective, this study aimed to monitor the coastal trace element contamination of the whole Mediterranean, using Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile as bioindicator. But sustainable coastal management also requires the development of appropriate classification systems intended, among other purposes, for environmental managers and policy makers. The combined utilization of several complementary monitoring tools - water quality scale, pollution index, spatial analysis - successfully led to the development of such an operational classification system: it allowed to assess contamination threats and to depict contamination gradients of the entire Mediterranean, while assessing more regional and local impacts. Consequently, such holistic approaches 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 detailDGTs, a complementary tool towards more efficient biomonitoring practices
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Donnay, Annick et al

Conference (2015, October 01)

Among the diversity of contaminants, trace elements (TEs) remain of concern because of their persistence, their ability to accumulate in biota and their toxicity. The direct measurement of their dissolved ... [more ▼]

Among the diversity of contaminants, trace elements (TEs) remain of concern because of their persistence, their ability to accumulate in biota and their toxicity. The direct measurement of their dissolved concentrations only gives punctual and fluctuating information, and often remains below detection limits of analytical methods. The more appropriate use of sentinel organisms, or bioindicators, to monitor TEs has thus often been preferred in environmental surveys. The introduction of the diffusive gradients in thin films (DGTs) technique has however participated to progressively change this binary view - bioindicator vs water - of the coastal monitoring of TEs, and DGTs rapidly became a relevant complementary tool to bioindicators, has illustrated below. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, the ecology and the ecotoxicology of TEs were studied in the seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile and the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819. DGTs (free- and pore-water probes) were deployed before sampling of organisms. TEs were also analyzed in suspended matter (dissolved and suspended-particulate TE speciation). Studies were performed in the Calvi Bay (Corsica, France), northwestern Mediterranean. TE concentrations in organisms and suspended matter or in DGT resins were measured by DRC-ICP-MS after HNO3/H202 mineralization or after a 24h elution in HNO3 1M, respectively. (1) TE bioaccumulation was first seasonally studied in P. oceanica over 3 years. Dissolved TE concentrations monitored with DGTs were low to very low. TE bioaccumulation dynamics in P. oceanica could thus be linked to the natural physiological cycle of the plant, in clean environmental conditions. (2) To complement that field survey, isolated seagrasses were in situ contaminated with TEs at environmental relevant concentrations. Through the use of DGTs, TE uptake kinetics were modelled for seagrasses exposed to know bioavailable concentrations of contaminants, as were loss kinetics during the following depuration phase. The TE sequestration ability of a healthy P. oceanica meadow facing sudden trace metal contamination events could also be quantified. (3) The deployment of pore-water DGT probes in bare-sand or seagrass colonized sediments further showed that, through its stabilizing function of the seabed, P. oceanica maintained higher TE levels in the pore-water. P. oceanica meadows thus offer a significant “depuration-filtering” ecological service along highly anthropized Mediterranean coasts. M. galloprovincialis are widely used in large spatial scale coastal monitoring surveys. (4) The deployment of caged mussels together with DGTs showed that the little contaminated water body of the Calvi Bay was relatively homogenous. It also allowed to calculate TE bioaccumulation towards mussels in reference conditions, and to compare it to native mussel populations. (5) Finally, during a 5 months mussel caging survey, mussels and suspended matter were collected weekly to monthly, such as were deployed DGTs. The physiological status of mussels, the speciation of TEs between their dissolved and suspended-particulate phases, and their relative influence on TE bioaccumulation dynamics in mussels were investigated. In conclusion, these case studies properly demonstrate how DGT probes can be used as a relevant and complementary tool to bioindicators. Their concomitant use should therefore be privileged in monitoring surveys. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace metal speciation? An essential aspect of biomonitoring to avoid wrong conclusions
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Donnay, Annick et al

Poster (2015, September 29)

The Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis is widely used as a bioindicator species in active monitoring surveys. As a filter feeder artificially maintained in the water column, it bioaccumulates ... [more ▼]

The Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis is widely used as a bioindicator species in active monitoring surveys. As a filter feeder artificially maintained in the water column, it bioaccumulates trace metals from the surrounding water in their dissolved and particulate forms. However, most monitoring surveys don’t take into account that speciation aspect when studying trace metal accumulation kinetics in mussels. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, we monitored trace metal concentrations in the flesh of mussels together with their “most bioavailable” dissolved and particulate fractions in the water column for almost 5 months (February-June 2011). Mussels were purchased from 2 little contaminated French shellfish farms (SARL Etang de Diane and ferme marine des Aresquiers), placed in several pouches to allow regular sampling, and immerged near the Oceanographic Research Station STARESO in the Calvi bay, northwestern Corsica. Mussels and water samples for suspended matter filtration were collected every week to two weeks, as were deployed DGTs. Seawater samples were filtered through 47 mm hydrophilic PTFE membrane filters with a 0.45 µm pore size until clogging. In the laboratory, mussel flesh and filters were digested in Teflon vessels with acids (HNO3/H202) in a closed microwave digestion lab station. DGT resins were eluted for 24h in 1.0 M HNO3. Trace metal concentrations (Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ag, Cd, Pb) were measured by DRC-ICP-MS. Analytical accuracy was checked by analyzing CRMs. All the studied metals except Pb and Zn were present in the water column to over 80% in their dissolved form. The contribution of the dissolved pathway was thus likely to be predominant in the oligotrophic Calvi bay. Dissolved trace metals showed little temporal variability of their levels, likely resulting from the integration over time of their levels in the DGT probes and the lack of seasonality of this fraction. In contrast, Zn showed great variability of its particulate fraction during the survey. Such temporal variability was also observed for Cr, more abundant in its particulate form at the end of the survey, and for Mn and Pb that conversely tended to decrease. The dynamic of trace metals in the mussel flesh is regulated by the environmental bioavailability of dissolved and particulate metals, the ecophysiological status of mussels and the trophic conditions of the water body. In the oligotrophic Calvi bay, showing background contamination levels by metals, the trophic conditions played a major role once out of the spring plankton bloom. It led to the increase of metal concentrations measured in the flesh of mussels undergoing starvation. However, some metals such as Cu and Co displayed only little temporal variations of their concentrations, these essential micronutrients being well regulated. The combined study of trace metal bioavailability and mussel ecophysiology in defined environmental conditions allows discriminating against biotic and abiotic factors regulating contaminant uptake in mussels, thus avoiding wrong conclusions about the observed dynamics of the studied contaminants. Mussels are a good proxy of coastal water quality, but their proper use notably requires adjustment of raw contaminant concentrations with trophic status of monitored sites. [less ▲]

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See detailSTARECAPMED (STAtion of Reference and rEsearch on Change of local and global Anthropogenic Pressures on Mediterranean Ecosystems Drifts) - Année 2014. Rapport de recherches.
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Binard, Marc ULg et al

Report (2015)

La prise de conscience, par le grand public, de l'impact grandissant de l'homme sur l'océan est récente. Elle se traduit par une volonté politique sincère de correction par des mesures de protection, de ... [more ▼]

La prise de conscience, par le grand public, de l'impact grandissant de l'homme sur l'océan est récente. Elle se traduit par une volonté politique sincère de correction par des mesures de protection, de gestion et de développement durable. Ces politiques, et leurs conséquences économiques et sociétales lourdes, ne peuvent être acceptées que si les décisions se fondent sur des connaissances scientifiques incontestables et montrent des résultats scientifiquement prouvés. Par ailleurs, ces décisions doivent prendre en compte des impacts qui s'opèrent à des échelles de temps et d’espace très variables, de quelques heures à plusieurs dizaines d’années et de quelques mètres à plusieurs milliers de km. En termes politiques, l'information scientifique nécessaire à la prise de décision doit pouvoir couvrir les différentes échelles depuis le niveau local et régional, jusqu'à l'échelle nationale, européenne voire globale, et cela sur le plus long terme possible. Enfin, pour être complète, l'information scientifique sur les écosystèmes marins doit pouvoir répondre à trois questions objectives : (i) quel est l'état? (ii) quelle est l'évolution? (iii) quels sont les mécanismes et processus mis en jeux? et à une question plus prospective : (vi) que peux-t-on prévoir et comment agir? Le présent rapport ne peut pas, à lui seul, refléter toute la richesse du programme STARECAPMED. En 3 ans, STARECAPMED a généré plusieurs centaines de milliers de données nouvelles, ré-exploité plusieurs centaines de publications, rapports et autres enregistrements passés et présents. Le programme a aussi généré de nombreux documents, rapports et mémoires. Enfin, des publications internationales et des thèses de doctorat sont en cours de réalisation ou abouties. Afin de rester lisible, nous avons donc choisi de présenter ce rapport 2014 sous la forme de 12 exemples parmi les travaux en cours. Ces exemples sont traités selon un schéma identique en 4 points simples : (i) La présentation du cas d’étude dans le projet global ; (ii),Les approches innovatrices développées ; (iii),La présentation de résultats marquants ; (iv),Les délivrables de STARECAPMED pour les politiques publiques. [less ▲]

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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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