Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Heavy metal link to mutations, low growth and fertility among crustaceans in Sydney Harbor tributary

27.08.2008
Heavy metal pollutants are linked to genetic mutations, stunted growth and declining fertility among small crustaceans in the Parramatta River, the main tributary of Sydney Harbour, new research shows.

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!
Further information:
http://www.unsw.edu.au/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Foxes in the city: citizen science helps researchers to study urban wildlife
14.12.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

nachricht Machine learning helps predict worldwide plant-conservation priorities
04.12.2018 | Ohio State University

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>