Monitoring chemical contamination levels in the Mediterranean based on the use of mussel caging.
Bruno Andral , Jean Yves Stanisiere, Didier Sauzade, Elodie Damier, Hervé Thebault, François Galgani, Pierre Boissery
Marine Pollution Bulletin 49 (2004) 704-712
Within the framework of the biointegrator network (RINBIO), 92 man-made cages containing mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis), distributed over 1800 km of the French Mediterranean coast, made it possible to assess chemical contamination by heavy metals (Cd, Hg, Zn, Pb, Cu, Ni, Cr, As) and organic compounds (DDT, PCBs, HAP). The caging technique was adopted to compensate for the scareity of natural shellfish stocks in the Mediterranean and te, enable comparison of the sites regardless of their physicochemical and trophic characteristics. Models linking a biometric parameter (the condition index) to pollutant levels make it possible to adjust raw data on contamination for a reference individual, by making a clear distinction between physiological factors (growth) and environmental ones. The results demonstrate significant levels of pollutants in sites heretofore unsampled; the pollution occurs at limited areas, and the sources have been identified. Moreover, average contamination levels are comparable to those measured in wild species and in other areas. Overall, the research demonstrates the reliability of this methodological approach for monitoring marine pollution, especially in the Mediterranean.