The finding adds to mounting evidence that toxic sediments and seaweeds in Sydney Harbour are a deadly diet for many sea creatures.
The new findings, published in the journal, Science of the Total Environment, reveal genetic mutations among crustaceans (Melita plumulosa) in the Parramatta River but none among those in the cleaner Hawkesbury River.
Earlier this year, UNSW scientists revealed that copper-contaminated seaweeds in Sydney Harbour were killing 75 percent of the offspring of small crustaceans that feed on a common brown seaweed.
That study showed that the harbour's seaweeds have the world's highest levels of copper and lead contamination as a consequence of stormwater run-off, industrial wastewaters and motorised watercraft.
The new study found the mutations and lower growth and fertility persisted through several generations of M. plumulosa in controlled laboratory conditions, suggesting that genetic changes are causing permanent negative impacts.
"The lower fertility and growth rates among the creatures exposed to contaminants is probably a stress response," says the study's lead author, UNSW science honours student, Pann Pann Chung.
The crustaceans were randomly sampled from two sites within each river: Homebush Bay South and Duck River in the Parramatta River, and Mooney Mooney and Half Moon Bend in the Hawkesbury.
M. plumulosa is a shrimp-like creature found among rocks and mudflats on shorelines and tide zones, although little is known about its genetic history. A native to the south-eastern coast of Australia, the amphipod feeds on organic material in sand and sediment.
"These crustaceans are sensitive to heavy metals such as copper, cadmium and zinc and scientists use them as a 'test organisms' for assessing the toxicity of marine sediments, says Ms Chung. "They accumulate heavy metals inside their tissues and scientists use them to monitor environmental pollutants."
Other research has revealed that chronic exposure to metal toxicants is linked to DNA damage in earthworms, periwinkles and some fish species.
Dan Gaffney | EurekAlert!
Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University
Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses