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High levels of sediment contamination have little influence on estuarine beach fish communities.

McKinley AC, Dafforn KA, Taylor MD, Johnston EL - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination.Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage.These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

ABSTRACT
While contaminants are predicted to have measurable impacts on fish assemblages, studies have rarely assessed this potential in the context of natural variability in physico-chemical conditions within and between estuaries. We investigated links between the distribution of sediment contamination (metals and PAHs), physico-chemical variables (pH, salinity, temperature, turbidity) and beach fish assemblages in estuarine environments. Fish communities were sampled using a beach seine within the inner and outer zones of six estuaries that were either heavily modified or relatively unmodified by urbanization and industrial activity. All sampling was replicated over two years with two periods sampled each year. Shannon diversity, biomass and abundance were all significantly higher in the inner zone of estuaries while fish were larger on average in the outer zone. Strong differences in community composition were also detected between the inner and outer zones. Few differences were detected between fish assemblages in heavily modified versus relatively unmodified estuaries despite high concentrations of sediment contaminants in the inner zones of modified estuaries that exceeded recognized sediment quality guidelines. Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination. Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage. These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

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Mean (±SE) physico-chemical and sediment contaminant variables by zone and estuary.Including a) Temperature, b) Salinity, c) pH, d) Mean Quotient of Sediment Metals, and e) Mean Quotient of Sediment PAH values.
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pone-0026353-g002: Mean (±SE) physico-chemical and sediment contaminant variables by zone and estuary.Including a) Temperature, b) Salinity, c) pH, d) Mean Quotient of Sediment Metals, and e) Mean Quotient of Sediment PAH values.

Mentions: In most estuaries, temperature (Figure 2a) was higher in the inner zone sites while salinity (Figure 2b) and pH (Figure 2c) were lower in the inner zone (Table 1 a–c). Physico-chemical variables also showed significant temporal variation (Table 1, Ye×Ti). While this variation was significant, the trends in physico-chemical variables between zones remained consistent. Turbidity did not show a significant trend by zone (Table 1d). There appeared to be higher concentrations of sediment metals in the inner zones of the heavily modified estuaries as well as the outer zone of the heavily modified Port Kembla (Figure 2d). This resulted in a significant interaction between zone and estuary nested within disturbance category (Table 2, 3a). The outer zones of all other estuaries (heavily modified or relatively unmodified) and the inner zone of the relatively unmodified estuaries displayed much lower levels of sediment metal contamination (Figure 2d). PAH contamination was only measured in the inner zones and did not show a clear trend by disturbance category, but did differ by estuary (Table 3b). The heavily modified estuaries Port Jackson and Port Kembla displayed relatively high PAH values (Table 1c, Figure 2e). Sediment metals values at many of the inner zones within the heavily modified estuaries and in the outer zone of Port Kembla were above levels predicted to have biological effects on infauna according to water quality guidelines [32].


High levels of sediment contamination have little influence on estuarine beach fish communities.

McKinley AC, Dafforn KA, Taylor MD, Johnston EL - PLoS ONE (2011)

Mean (±SE) physico-chemical and sediment contaminant variables by zone and estuary.Including a) Temperature, b) Salinity, c) pH, d) Mean Quotient of Sediment Metals, and e) Mean Quotient of Sediment PAH values.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198393&req=5

pone-0026353-g002: Mean (±SE) physico-chemical and sediment contaminant variables by zone and estuary.Including a) Temperature, b) Salinity, c) pH, d) Mean Quotient of Sediment Metals, and e) Mean Quotient of Sediment PAH values.
Mentions: In most estuaries, temperature (Figure 2a) was higher in the inner zone sites while salinity (Figure 2b) and pH (Figure 2c) were lower in the inner zone (Table 1 a–c). Physico-chemical variables also showed significant temporal variation (Table 1, Ye×Ti). While this variation was significant, the trends in physico-chemical variables between zones remained consistent. Turbidity did not show a significant trend by zone (Table 1d). There appeared to be higher concentrations of sediment metals in the inner zones of the heavily modified estuaries as well as the outer zone of the heavily modified Port Kembla (Figure 2d). This resulted in a significant interaction between zone and estuary nested within disturbance category (Table 2, 3a). The outer zones of all other estuaries (heavily modified or relatively unmodified) and the inner zone of the relatively unmodified estuaries displayed much lower levels of sediment metal contamination (Figure 2d). PAH contamination was only measured in the inner zones and did not show a clear trend by disturbance category, but did differ by estuary (Table 3b). The heavily modified estuaries Port Jackson and Port Kembla displayed relatively high PAH values (Table 1c, Figure 2e). Sediment metals values at many of the inner zones within the heavily modified estuaries and in the outer zone of Port Kembla were above levels predicted to have biological effects on infauna according to water quality guidelines [32].

Bottom Line: Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination.Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage.These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

ABSTRACT
While contaminants are predicted to have measurable impacts on fish assemblages, studies have rarely assessed this potential in the context of natural variability in physico-chemical conditions within and between estuaries. We investigated links between the distribution of sediment contamination (metals and PAHs), physico-chemical variables (pH, salinity, temperature, turbidity) and beach fish assemblages in estuarine environments. Fish communities were sampled using a beach seine within the inner and outer zones of six estuaries that were either heavily modified or relatively unmodified by urbanization and industrial activity. All sampling was replicated over two years with two periods sampled each year. Shannon diversity, biomass and abundance were all significantly higher in the inner zone of estuaries while fish were larger on average in the outer zone. Strong differences in community composition were also detected between the inner and outer zones. Few differences were detected between fish assemblages in heavily modified versus relatively unmodified estuaries despite high concentrations of sediment contaminants in the inner zones of modified estuaries that exceeded recognized sediment quality guidelines. Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination. Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage. These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus