Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sydney Harbor's Seaweed A Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures

Date:
September 7, 2006
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
Sydney Harbor'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 harbor'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 harbor, laboratory and field experiments have shown.

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.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of New South Wales

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Sydney Harbor's Seaweed A Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060826171853.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2006, September 7). Sydney Harbor's Seaweed A Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060826171853.htm
University of New South Wales. "Sydney Harbor's Seaweed A Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060826171853.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins