A biomonitoring study assessing the residual biological effects of pollution caused by the HAVEN wreck on marine organisms in the Ligurian sea (Italy)

A. Viarengo, F. Dondero, D. M. Pampanin, R. Fabbri, E. Poggi, M. Malizia, C. Bolognesi, E. Perrone, E. Gollo, G. P. Cossa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Residual biological effects of the 1991 HAVEN oil spill off the Ligurian (Arenzano) coast were assessed in this study. Samples of the fish species Boops boops, Mullus barbatus, and Uranoscupus scaber were collected from two polluted sites near the HAVEN wreck and from an uncontaminated area. In addition to this, mussels were caged along the coast affected by the HAVEN disaster. The physiological status of fish and mussels was assessed using a battery of stress and exposure biomarkers. The PAH content of mussel and fish tissues was also analyzed. Significant biological responses were observed in lysosomal membrane stability, neutral lipid and lipofuscin accumulation and micronucleus frequency for mussels caged at two sites close to the HAVEN wreck. Chemical analyses indicated, however, that these effects are not caused by aromatic hydrocarbons. For this reason, we suggest that the aftermath of the HAVEN disaster contributes very little to coastal ecosystem pollution. This was also confirmed by the few biological effects observed in fish specimens (Boops boops) collected from surface waters. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that benthic fish displayed a stress syndrome potentially caused by aromatic hydrocarbons released from the oil tanker, as witnessed by an enhanced EROD activity and increased lipofuscin and neutral lipid lysosomal contents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-616
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Keywords

  • Aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Bioindicators
  • Biomarkers
  • Biomonitoring
  • Fish
  • Mussel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution

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