Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sydney Harbors Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures

Date:
April 10, 2008
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
Contaminated seaweeds in Sydney Harbour could be threatening the small animals that feed on them, according to a new study revealing that the harbor's seaweeds have the world's highest levels of copper and lead contamination.

Heavy metals have proven to be a deadly diet for Sydney's harbour life, new research shows.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of New South Wales

Contaminated seaweeds in Sydney Harbour could be threatening the small animals that feed on them, according to a new study revealing that the harbour's seaweeds have the world's highest levels of copper and lead contamination.

Up to 75 percent 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, UNSW laboratory and field experiments have shown.

The UNSW study sampled seaweed from 10 bays within the harbour, ranging from 3km to 11km from Sydney Heads. Concentrations of copper, lead and zinc in a species of brown seaweed found in Woolloomooloo Bay, Balls Head Bay and Rushcutters Bay equal or exceed levels found in the Hong Kong Islands and Brazil's Sepetiba Bay, which are among the world's most heavy metal-contaminated waterways.

Heavy metals such as copper, lead and zinc find their way into Sydney Harbour from stormwater runoff, industrial waters and motorised watercraft. These seaweeds "bioaccumulate" metals inside their tissues and scientists use them to monitor environmental pollutants.

Published in an upcoming issue of the journal Environmental Pollution, it is the first investigation of the geographic relationship between metal contamination in seaweeds and the crustaceans that feed on them.

The study reveals that high concentrations of copper in one seaweed species (Padinacrassa) were associated with a low abundance of grazing amphipods - small shrimp-like creatures - that feed on algae. These creatures are highly abundant in all marine habitats: on average there are some 6,000 animals per square metre of algal bed in Sydney Harbour.

"The habitats that we sampled within Sydney Harbour contain among the highest concentrations of metals yet identified in brown seaweeds," says study lead author, Dr David Roberts.

"In seven of the 10 sample harbour sites, we measured copper concentrations in one seaweed species that exceeded levels known to threaten small crustaceans. These concentrations exceed all previously scientifically reported levels."

Co-authors Dr Alistair Poore and Dr Emma Johnston say that the results of this and previous UNSW studies suggest that other animals higher up the food chain may be indirectly suffering the consequences of pollution.


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 Harbors Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114644.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2008, April 10). Sydney Harbors Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114644.htm
University of New South Wales. "Sydney Harbors Deadly Diet For Sea Creatures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080407114644.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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