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Title: Environmental quality assessment combining sediment metal levels, biomarkers and macrobenthic communities: application to the Óbidos coastal lagoon (Portugal)
Author: Pereira, Patrícia
Carvalho, Susana
Pereira, Fábio
de Pablo, Hilda
Gaspar, Miguel B.
Pacheco, Mário
Vale, Carlos
Keywords: Sediment quality
Macrobenthic communities
Carcinus maenas
Oxidative stress
Óbidos lagoon
Issue Date: Dec-2012
Publisher: Springer
Abstract: Macroinvertebrate benthic communities are one of the key biological components considered for the assessment of benthic integrity in the context of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). However, under moderate contamination scenarios, the assessment of macrobenthic alterations at community level alone could be insufficient to discriminate the environmental quality of coastal and transitional waters. Keeping this in view, sediment quality of moderately contaminated sites in a coastal lagoon (Óbidos lagoon, Portugal) was assessed by the combination of sediment metal levels, Carcinus maenas biomarkers (accumulated metals and oxidative stress responses) and macrobenthic communities. Two sites were selected in confined inner branches (BS and BB) and a third one in the middle lagoon (ML). The site BB presented slightly higher levels of metals in sediment but biological variables calculated for macrobenthic data were not significantly different between sites. The biotic index M-AMBI that is being applied to assess environmental quality of transitional waters in the scope of the WFD pointed either to high (site ML) or good quality status (BS and BB) in the selected sites. However, crabs from BB site presented significantly higher levels of Ni in hepatopancreas than those from ML and macrobenthic community structure was significantly different between BB and ML. Additionally, spatial differences were obtained for oxidative stress parameters suggesting that BB site presented stressors for crabs (higher GST and lower GSH(t) at BB site). Factor analysis (PCA) integrating sediment contamination, biomarkers in crabs and macrobenthic data also distinguished BB site as the most environmentally disturbed. On the other hand, at ML site, some macrobenthic variables (equitability and polychaetes' diversity) were found to be enhanced by current environmental conditions, suggesting the existence of a better sediment quality. Current results pointed to the usefulness of integrating macrobenthic community alterations with responses at organism level (bioaccumulation and biochemical endpoints) in order to increase the accuracy of environmental quality assessment in lagoon systems. Moreover, the application of different statistical methods was also found to be recommendable.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-011-2486-8
ISSN: 0167-6369
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