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In the Barents Sea, the limited data on biological relevant indicators and their responses to various anthropogenic stressors have hindered the development of a consistent scientific basis for selecting indicator species and developing practical procedures for environmental monitoring. Accordingly, the main aim of the present study was to develop a common set of baseline values for contaminants and biomarkers in three species, and to identify their strengths and limitations in monitoring of the Barents Sea. Blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), Icelandic scallop (Chlamys islandica) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) were sampled from a north Norwegian fjord in March, June, September and December 2010. Digestive glands from the bivalve species and liver from Atlantic cod were analysed for biomarkers of oxidative stress (catalase [CAT], glutathione peroxidase [GPX], glutathione-S-transferase activities [GST], lipid peroxidation as thiobarbituric reactive substances [TBARS] and total oxyradical scavenging capacity [TOSC]), biotransformation (ethoxyresorufine-O-deethylase activity [EROD]) and general stress (lysosomal membrane stability [LMS]). Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals in the bivalves and PAH metabolites in fish bile were quantified. Finally, energy reserves (total lipids, proteins and carbohydrates) and electron transport system (ETS) activity in the digestive gland of the bivalves and liver of Atlantic cod provided background information for reproductive cycle and general physiological status of the organisms. Blue mussel and Icelandic scallop showed very similar trends in biological cycle, biomarker expression and seasonality. Biomarker baselines in Atlantic cod showed weaker seasonal variability. However, important biological events may have been undetected due to the large time intervals between sampling occasions. Physiological biomarkers such as energy reserves and ETS activity were recommended as complementary parameters to the commonly used stress biomarkers, as they provided valuable information on the physiological status of the studied organisms. Interpretation of the seasonality in oxidative stress biomarkers was in general difficult but TOSC and lipid peroxidation were preferred over the antioxidant enzyme activities. This study is the first reporting seasonal baseline in these three species in a sub-Arctic location. Overall, the Icelandic scallop was considered the most adequate organism for environmental monitoring in the Barents Sea due to the interpretability of the biomarker data as well as its abundance, ease to handle and wide distribution from the southern Barents Sea to Svalbard. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


J Nahrgang, S J Brooks, A Evenset, L Camus, M Jonsson, T J Smith, J Lukina, M Frantzen, E Giarratano, P E Renaud. Seasonal variation in biomarkers in blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), Icelandic scallop (Chlamys islandica) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua): implications for environmental monitoring in the Barents Sea. Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2013 Feb;127:21-35

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PMID: 22310169

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