Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sydney harbor's seaweed a deadly diet for sea creatures

22.08.2006
Sydney Harbour's seaweeds may be having a deadly effect on the small animals that eat them because they "bio-accumulate" the toxic heavy metals that pollute the harbour's waters, a new study has found.

Up to three-quarters of the offspring of small crustaceans that feed on a common brown seaweed, for example, are killed when they are exposed to copper at levels found in some parts of the harbour, laboratory and field experiments have shown.

The results suggest that other animals higher up the food chain may be indirectly suffering the consequences of pollution as well, says the study, published in the latest issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Heavy metals such as copper, lead and zinc usually find their way into waterways from stormwater runoff, industrial waters and motorised watercraft.

The University of New South Wales research report is from a team that is mid-way through a harbour-sampling program that has recorded toxic levels of heavy metals such as copper and zinc among the affected brown algae in Rushcutters Bay, near Darling Point, and in Mort Bay around Balmain.

"Marine macroalgae such as brown algae are efficient 'accumulators' of heavy metals and appear to be relatively tolerant to their effects," says UNSW biologist and research team member, Dr Emma Johnston.

"However, a wide variety of sea creatures that rely on the algae for food cannot tolerate the heavy metals in high concentrations."

She and her colleagues, David Roberts and Alistair Poore, observed a 75% death rate among juvenile crustaceans when they ate experimentally contaminated brown algae containing high levels of copper. Beds of the same seaweed are important shelter habitats for many small marine creatures.

"Contaminated algae in Sydney Harbour represent poor habitat and we found that fewer animals choose to live on this algae," says Dr Johnston. "This may have further consequences for animals such as fish that are further up the food chain"

Emma Johnston | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>