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High pollutant levels in Guanica Bay 'represent serious toxic threat' to corals

Date:
February 10, 2014
Source:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
Pollutants measured in the sediments of Guanica Bay, Puerto Rico, in a new NOAA study were among the highest concentrations of PCBs, chlordane, chromium and nickel ever measured in the history of NOAA's National Status and Trends monitoring program.

This is an aerial view of study area, Guánica Bay, Puerto Rico.
Credit: NOAA

The pollutants measured in the sediments of Guánica Bay, Puerto Rico, in a new NOAA study were among the highest concentrations of PCBs, chlordane, chromium and nickel ever measured in the history of NOAA's National Status & Trends, a nationwide contaminant monitoring program that began in 1986.

Researchers from the National Ocean Service's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) studied the reef's ecology to help establish baseline conditions that coastal managers can use to measure changes resulting from new efforts to manage pollution. Among the items studied were habitat types, coral cover, fish and pollution stressors such as nutrients, sedimentation, toxic contaminants in Guánica Bay.

"These concentrations of pollutants represent serious toxic threats to corals, fish and benthic fauna -- bottom dwelling animal life and plants," said David Whitall, Ph.D., the report's principal investigator and NOAA ecologist. "We also observed lower indicators of biological health, such as how much of the coral covers the sea floor offshore from Guánica Bay when compared to an adjacent study area, La Parguera. Further research is needed to determine if this is the result of the toxins or some other cause. At this point, we cannot definitively link it to pollution."

The new measurements demonstrate the importance of long-term contaminant monitoring programs like National Status & Trends, which allow new data to be placed in national and historical perspective.

Study: http://www2.coastalscience.noaa.gov/publications/detail.aspx?resource=vxgZgL67qZTshxUutEN5Y8QVPxW2ZbPE8XsukjC2IuY=


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "High pollutant levels in Guanica Bay 'represent serious toxic threat' to corals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210141950.htm>.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2014, February 10). High pollutant levels in Guanica Bay 'represent serious toxic threat' to corals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210141950.htm
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "High pollutant levels in Guanica Bay 'represent serious toxic threat' to corals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140210141950.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

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