• Identification and Characterization of Cyprinid Herpesvirus-3 (CyHV-3) Encoded MicroRNAs

      Donohoe, O. H.; Henshilwood, K.; Way, K.; Hakimjavadi, R.; Stone, D. M.; Walls, D. (PLoS ONE, 2015)
      MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional gene regulation. Some viruses encode their own miRNAs and these are increasingly being recognized as important modulators of viral and host gene expression. Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3) is a highly pathogenic agent that causes acute mass mortalities in carp (Cyprinus carpio carpio) and koi (Cyprinus carpio koi) worldwide. Here, bioinformatic analyses of the CyHV-3 genome suggested the presence of non-conserved precursor miRNA (pre-miRNA) genes. Deep sequencing of small RNA fractions prepared from in vitro CyHV-3 infections led to the identification of potential miRNAs and miRNA–offset RNAs (moRNAs) derived from some bioinformatically predicted pre-miRNAs. DNA microarray hybridization analysis, Northern blotting and stem-loop RT-qPCR were then used to definitively confirm that CyHV-3 expresses two pre-miRNAs during infection in vitro. The evidence also suggested the presence of an additional four high-probability and two putative viral pre-miRNAs. MiRNAs from the two confirmed pre-miRNAs were also detected in gill tissue from CyHV-3-infected carp. We also present evidence that one confirmed miRNA can regulate the expression of a putative CyHV-3-encoded dUTPase. Candidate homologues of some CyHV-3 pre-miRNAs were identified in CyHV-1 and CyHV-2. This is the first report of miRNA and moRNA genes encoded by members of the Alloherpesviridae family, a group distantly related to the Herpesviridae family. The discovery of these novel CyHV-3 genes may help further our understanding of the biology of this economically important virus and their encoded miRNAs may have potential as biomarkers for the diagnosis of latent CyHV-3.
    • Impact of inter-lab variation on the estimation of epidemiological cut-off values for disc diffusion susceptibility test data for Aeromonas salmonicida

      Smith, P.; Ruane, N.M.; Douglas, I.; Carroll, C.; Kronvall, G.; Fleming, G.T.A. (Elsevier, 2007)
      Two laboratories investigated the susceptibility of 106 Aeromonas salmonicida strains (from Denmark, France, Ireland, Norway and Scotland) to erythromycin, gentamicin, oxytetracycline and oxolinic acid using the disc diffusion protocols (M42-A) published by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. In studies of susceptibility to florfenicol an additional 15 Canadian strains were included. Comparison of the data generated by the two laboratories demonstrated that for each disc both detected a similar pattern of distribution but that there was a significant numerical difference in the zone sizes they recorded. Analysis of the extent of this lateral shift between the data generated in two laboratories indicated that the application of a single laboratory-independent epidemiological cut-off value for each disc could result in disagreement between the laboratories as to whether a strain should be classified as wild-type or non wild-type. Normalised resistance interpretation was employed to generate epidemiological cut-off values from the data obtained by each laboratory. The use of these laboratory-specific cut-off values resulted in both laboratories achieving complete agreement as to the classification of all strains to all agents.
    • Impacts of climate change on harmful algal blooms

      Bresnan, E.; Davidson, K.; Edwards, M.; Fernand, L.; Gowen, R.; Hall, A.; Kennington, K.; McKinney, A.; Milligan, S.; Raine, R.; et al. (Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership, 2013)
      High biomass Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) such as Karenia mikimotoi and shellfish toxin producing HAB species continue to be observed in UK and Republic of Ireland waters. Regional differences continue to be seen in the distribution of HABs in UK and RoI waters with impacts mainly observed in the south and west coast of Ireland and regions in the UK with a strong Atlantic influence, e.g. Regions 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7. There is little monitoring aside from the continuous plankton recorder (CPR) in Region 8. The impacts from HABs in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man are generally low. Since the last MCCIP report card was issued, blooms of Karenia mikimotoi have caused problems in Ayrshire, Scotland, and also in the north-west coast of Ireland where concerns about the quantity of dead wild fish washing on shore during an event in Ireland in 2012 resulted in two beaches being closed to the public. No clear trend that can be attributed to climate change can be observed in the incidence of shellfish toxin producing HABs since the last report card was issued. During the last two years the incidence of some shellfish toxins has continued to decrease (e.g. paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in Scotland). High concentrations of yessotoxins (YTX) and azaspiracids (AZAs) have been recorded for the first time in Scotland. Northern Ireland enforced its first shellfish harvesting closure for high concentrations of domoic acid (the toxin responsible for amnesic shellfish poisoning, ASP) in 2012. A recent survey in Scottish waters (Regions 1, 6 and 7) has revealed the presence of domoic acid in the urine and faeces of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). The impacts of these toxins on the health of marine mammals are unknown and a more detailed study is currently being undertaken. Many of the future impacts of climate change are unknown. Increasing sea surface temperatures as a result of climate change may increase the potential for blooms of species that are not currently found in UK and RoI waters through range expansion or human mediated introduction. There is evidence that no new HAB species have become established during the last two years. An increase in the duration of stratification of the water column may influence the abundance of HABs in UK and RoI waters. This is particularly relevant in shelf areas and Region 8, an area where offshore high biomass K. mikimotoi blooms have been hypothesized to initiate and impact coastal areas along the west of Ireland and Regions 6, 7 and 1. Conversely, an increase in wind speed and duration may reduce the duration of stratification in the water column. This may result in a decrease of some HAB dinoflagellate species and an increase in HAB diatom species. Little is known about the impacts of ocean acidification or changes in offshore circulation on the incidence of HABs. The role of offshore blooms in seeding coastal blooms (e.g. of K. mikimotoi) remains unknown and the lack of monitoring in Region 8 and on the shelf edge compounds this knowledge gap.
    • The implications of Alexandrium tamarense resting cysts in an area of shellfish aquaculture in Ireland

      Silke, J.; McMahon, T. (1998)
      The Irish Marine Institute's Fisheries Research Centre carry out a monitoring programme for the detection of algal toxins in shellfish. This programme is carried out under EU Directive 91/492. During the course of this programme the North Channel area of Cork Harbour has been the only location in Ireland where toxins causing Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) have been detected in shellfish above the regulatory limit. For short periods during each of the summers of 1996,1997 and 1998, PSP toxins were found in mussels{Mytilus edulis) from this area above the regulatory limit period necessitating a ban on harvesting. Oysters {Crassostrea gigas) from the same area remained below the regulatory threshold. The dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense, a known vector of PSP toxins, was observed in the area during each of the toxic events. The exact origin of the populations of A. tamarense was unknown. A. tamarense is known to produce a cyst stage as part of its life cycle. These cysts can remain viable in the sediments for several years. A survey of the distribution of cysts of A. tamarense in the surface sediments in Cork Harbour was carried out in order to determine if they were potentially seeding the area. They were detected in 6 sites, and successfully germinated to yield vegetative cells. The results of the survey are presented and discussed.
    • In vitro and in vivo tumor promoting potency of technical toxaphene, UV-irradiated toxaphene, and biotransformed toxaphene

      Besselink, H.T.; Nixon, E.; McHugh, B.; Klungsøyr, J.; Brouwer, A. (2000)
      Toxaphene, a complex mixture of polychlorinated camphenes, was first introduced in 1945 by Hercules Co. as Hercules 3965. Until the mid 1980s, it was mass produced and widely used as an insecticide, and was also used as a piscicide to control rough fish in various water systems. The lipophilic, persistent, and volatile nature of toxaphene has contributed to its global dispersion throughout the fresh water and marine environment. In addition to bioaccumulation in biota inhabiting these regions, it is also been detected in humans. Human exposure mainly occurs through the consumption of toxaphene contaminated fish. Information on the carcinogenicity and general toxicology of weathered and biotransformed TT would be of major interest. To mimic the weathered toxaphene found in fish, we developed a so-called 'realistic exposure' procedure for toxaphene. This procedure makes use of cod that were exposed to TT. Toxaphene residues that were extracted from cod liver (CLE), were then used in in vitro and in vivo studies to obtain information on its tumor promoting potency. Besides CLE, we also studied the tumor promoting properties of UV-irradiated toxaphene (UVT) and TT.
    • An integrated approach to the toxicity assessment of Irish marine sediments. Application of porewater Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) to Irish marine sediments.

      Macken, A; Giltrap, M; Foley, B; McGovern, E; McHugh, B; Davoren, M (Elsevier, 2009)
      An integrated approach to the ecotoxicological assessment of Irish marine sediments was carried out between 2004 and 2007. Phase I Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) of sediment porewaters from two sites on the east coast of Ireland were conducted. Initial Tier I screening of three Irish sites identified the need for TIE after significant toxicity was observed with Tisbe battagliai and the Microtox® assay at two of the assayed sites (Alexandra Basin and Dunmore East). Porewaters classified as toxic were characterised using four manipulations, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelation, sodium thiosulphate addition, C18 Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and Cation Exchange (CE) SPE. Prior to initial testing, and TIE manipulations, all porewater samples were frozen at -20 ºC for several months until required. After initial Tier I testing Alexandra Basin porewater was classified as highly toxic by both assays while Dunmore East porewater only warranted a TIE with T. battagliai. Results of TIE manipulations for Alexandra Basin porewater and the Microtox® Basic test were inconclusive. The toxicity of the porewater in this assay was significantly reduced after freezing. Three experimental episodes were conducted with one month between each for the Alexandra Basin porewater. After each month of freezing the baseline toxicity was further reduced in the Microtox® assay, therefore it was not possible to draw accurate conclusions on the nature of the active contaminants in the sample. However, toxicity to T. battalgiai did not change after storage of the porewater. The C18 and CE SPE decreased the toxicity of Alexandra Basin porewater to the copepod indicating that both organic and cationic compounds (e.g. metals) were active in the sample. Dunmore East porewater was assayed with T. battalgiai and again a combination of organic and inorganic compounds were found to be partly responsible for the observed toxicity (C18, CE SPE and EDTA reduced toxicity). Results from these TIEs provide insight into the complexity of interpreting marine TIE data from porewater studies where mixtures of unknown substances are present.
    • Irish Multidisciplinary Deepwater Survey 2007 SSTI Project Report

      Dransfeld, L; Davie, S; Johnston, G; Leahy, Y; O'Beirn, F.X.; O'Hea, B; O'Shea, C; Wall, D; White, M; Gerritsen, H.D. (Marine Institute, 2007)
      The Marine Institute with the collaboration of the National University of Galway conducted a multidisciplinary deepwater survey along the continental slope of the Northeast Atlantic. At three selected sites northwest of Ireland and on the northern slopes of the Porcupine Bank, fishing transects were carried out at four depth strata (500m, 1000m 1500m and 1800m) during the day, while oceanographic measurements and plankton and benthic invertebrate sampling was carried out during the night. Data from CTD and ADCP measurements showed following distribution of water masses: The top 700 m was occupied by that of Eastern North Atlantic Water (ENAW) origin which is a basic feature of the upper layer hydrography in the Rockall Trough; small salinity maxima indicated the region associated with the core of the shelf edge current (SEC). At Area 6, immediately north of Porcupine Bank, a salinity maximum at a depth of 900-1000 m indicated the presence of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) with the presence Labrador Sea Water (LSW) at 1800-2000 m. The SEC was identified in both CTD and ADCP transects and was characterised by a number of relatively narrow filaments evident in the salinity data. In terms of benthic invertebrate data, a total of 104 taxa were identified with a maximum number of 33 invertebrate taxa identified per haul (these values were recorded at two 1500m hauls in 2006 and 2007, in Areas 5 and 2, respectively). Overall, no clear relationship between the number of invertebrate species and depth was apparent, however there was some indication that the number of species appears to be more variable in deeper waters. Several species occurred in very large numbers; these were the echinoderms, Cidaris cidaris, Benthegone rosea and Stichopus tremulus and the bivalve, Pseudammusium septemradii. Fisheries data revealed distinct deepwater fish communities that changed with depth and to a lesser extent with area. The number of species increased with depth at all sites to reach a maximum at 1500m before decreasing again at 1800m. At 500m depth the fish community was mainly composed of rabbit fish and rattails with some shelf species present such as hake, ling and silver pout. The 1000m depth strata presented a transition of species composition. The most abundant species overall was Roundnose grenadier which had is highest abundance at 1500m in all three areas but could also be found in the 1000 and 18000m depth strata. Other species of high abundance which also had their highest number of individuals at 1500m were Baird’s smoothhead and other species of grenadiers. Cluster analysis revealed that Roundnose grenadier was a distinct species grouping as was that of Baird’s smoothhead. Species occurrences were similar in all three areas with some regional differences; in area 2, Phycis blennoides, greater forkbeard,occurred among the ten most abundant species while in area 5, species, such as Black Scabbard, Aphanopus carbo, and cut throat eel, Synaphobranchus kaupi, were being caught here in larger numbers while present in the other areas in low numbers. Seven comparative tows were carried out with the Scottish research vessels RV Scotia and indicated that overall similar numbers of species and total number of fish were caught. Size distribution also compared well between the two different vessels, however for some species the numbers or size ranges of fish caught differed.
    • Irish National Phytoplankton Monitoring (Sites 41–45)

      Silke, J.; Cusack, C. (ICES, 2012)
      The Marine Institute in Ireland carries out a national phytoplankton monitoring programme which extends back to the late 1980s. This includes a harmful algal blooms (HABs) monitoring service that warns producers and consumers of concentrations of toxic plankton in Irish coastal waters that could contaminate shellfish or cause fish deaths. This programme is primarily located along the Atlantic seaboard and Celtic Sea. Scientists working on this monitoring programme have developed an understanding of phytoplankton populations and dynamics around the Irish coastline, especially in relation to those that cause shellfish toxicity. Particular emphasis is put on the detection and enumeration of harmful species. The importance of phytoplankton as an indicator of water quality is also studied and is a key component of the European Water Framework.
    • Irish Shellfish Biotoxin Monitoring Programme

      Silke, J.; McMahon, T.; Hess, P. (Marine Institute, 2006)
      Since its initial development in the early 1970s the Irish aquaculture industry has grown to be an important contributor to the national economy. There has been a steady increase, in both output and value, as well as in job creation. The total production of farmed shellfish has increased from approximately 5,000 tonnes in 1980 to 44,678 tonnes in 2003 (Figure 1), with a first sale value of €41.8m and directly employing some 1100 people (Parsons et al, 2004). Mussels (Mytilus edulis), native oysters (Ostrea edulis), Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas), Clams (Tapes semidecussata) and scallops (Pecten maximus) are the main species produced. With a growing recognition and awareness internationally of the potential human health effects of the consumption of shellfish containing algal toxins, a monitoring programme was established in Ireland in the early 1980s and has continued since then. In this paper the evolution and development of the programme is described and discussed.
    • Isolation of Streptococcus agalactiae and an aquatic birnavirus from doctor fish Garra rufa L.

      Ruane, N.M.; Collins, E.M.; Geary, M.; Swords, D.; Hickey, C.; Geoghegan, F. (BioMed Central, 2013)
      Background The doctor fish, Garra rufa, has become increasingly popular as a treatment for skin disorders and for pedicures in recent years. Despite this there is very little information available regarding the welfare of these fish and the range of potential pathogens they may carry. In this study, a group of fish suffering from post-transport mortalities were examined and the isolated pathogens identified. Findings Group B Streptococcus agalactiae was isolated from kidney swabs of the fish and found to be resistant to a number of antibiotics. In addition to this, a fish virus belonging to the aquabirnavirus group, serogroup C was isolated for the first time in Ireland. However, no clinical signs of disease typical of bacterial or viral infections were observed in any fish examined. Conclusions As no clinical signs of disease attributable to either of the pathogens identified were found it was concluded that the mortalities were most likely due to transport related stress exacerbated by the presence of the pathogens. Further work is required to assess the suitability of current transport strategies and to examine the potential risk associated with the transport of live ornamental fish.
    • Isolation of Yersinia ruckeri type I (Hagerman strain) from goldfish Carassius auratus. (L.)

      McArdle, J.F.; Dooley-Martyn, C. (European Association of Fish Pathologists, 1985)
    • Karenia mikimotoi: An Exceptional Dinoflagellate Bloom in Western Irish Waters, Summer 2005

      Silke, J.; O'Beirn, F.X.; Cronin, M. (Marine Institute, 2005)
      A protracted bloom of Karenia mikimotoi was present in summer 2005 along the northern half of the western Irish coastline. The onset of this bloom was identified in late May / early June. This event subsequently dissipated over the month of July and was succeeded by a bloom of the same species in the southwest in late July. The bloom was very intense and resulted in discolouration of seawater and foaming in coastal embayments. Major mortalities of benthic and pelagic marine organisms were observed and a complete decimation of marine faunal communities was reported and observed in several locations. Deaths of echinoderms, polychaetes and bivalve molluscs were observed in County Donegal and Mayo, while farmed shellfish and hatchery raised juvenile bivalve spat suffered significant mortalities along the Galway and Mayo coasts. Reports of dead fish and crustacea were received from Donegal, Galway, West Cork and Kerry. Karenia mikimotoi is one of the most common red tide causative dinoflagellates known in the Northeast Atlantic region, and is also common in the waters around Japan. Blooms of this species often reach concentrations of over several million cells per litre and these densities are often associated with marine fauna mortalities. Although cytotoxic polyethers have been extracted from cultures of the species, the exact mechanism of the toxic effect and resultant devastating damages yet remains unclear. It is known in the literature under several different names as the taxonomy and genetics have been studied. It is now known that previously reported names including Gyrodinium aureolum, G. cf. aureolum, G. nagasakiense and G. mikimotoi are synonymous with the current name given to the organism. The visible effects following the mortalities included noticeable quantities of dead heart urchins (Echinocardium cordata L.) and lugworms (Arenicola marina L.) deposited on beaches. Several species of wild fish were also found dead. The bloom coincided with a period of fine weather and tourists visiting the seaside were concerned about the safety of swimming in waters that were obviously harmful to marine organisms on this scale. A public awareness programme was mounted by the Marine Institute with several radio broadcasts, press releases and a website provided to give up to date pronouncements on the event. While there have been several instances of Karenia mikimotoi blooms reported in Ireland over the past 30 years, this scale of mortalities associated with the 2005 bloom were not previously observed. Recording the scale of this event was facilitated by satellite imagery while direct counts of the cells in seawater by the Marine Institute monitoring programme gave very useful information regarding the size and intensity of this event. The mortalities of marine organisms were documented from reports made by various observers and by Marine Institute field surveys.
    • LC-UV and LC-MS methods for the determination of domoic acid

      Hess, P.; Morris, S.; Stobo, L.A.; Brown, N.A.; McEvoy, J.D.G.; Kennedy, G.; Young, P.B.; Slattery, D.; McGovern, E.; McMahon, T.; et al. (Elsevier, 2005)
      Under European legislation, domoic acid (DA), the main constituent of amnesic shellfish poisoning, is monitored to protect the shellfish consumer. To ensure comparability amongst analytical data, it was deemed necessary to undertake performance assessments of the methods conducted by monitoring laboratories of the United Kingdom and Ireland. In phase I of a two-phase inter-comparison, three laboratories used high-performance liquid chromatography and ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV). Concentration data for a DA standard solution, a crude extract of whole scallops and a scallop-homogenate fell within internationally accepted limits, demonstrating good agreement for these matrices. Between-laboratory analyses of a scallop gonad showed a higher variation (>16%). In phase II, a second gonad homogenate containing DA one order of magnitude higher in concentration gave results acceptable to internationally set criteria. The efficiency of the strong anion-exchange cartridges used in sample-extract clean-up should be monitored as part of a laboratory quality control system. From a recovery study, it is suggested that recovery correction should also be applied. There was no difference in the quantitation of DA in standard solutions or shellfish using either LC-UV or LC with mass spectrometric (MS) detection, and between-laboratory MS data for a gonad homogenate were also equivalent. Variations of the published method practised by the monitoring laboratories were found not to compromise results, thus demonstrating an acceptable degree of ruggedness, as well as comparability between the participants.
    • A longitudinal study of amoebic gill disease on a marine Atlantic salmon farm utilising a real-time PCR assay for the detection of Neoparamoeba perurans

      Downes, J.K.; Henshilwood, K.; Collins, E.M.; Ryan, A.; O'Connor, I.; Rodger, H.D.; MacCarthy, E.; Ruane, N.M. (Inter Research, 2015)
      Amoebic gill disease (AGD) is a proliferative gill disease of marine cultured Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, with the free-living protozoan Neoparamoeba perurans being the primary aetiological agent. The increased incidence of AGD in recent years presents a significant challenge to the Atlantic salmon farming industry in Europe. In this study, a real-time TaqMan® PCR assay was developed and validated to detect Neoparamoeba perurans on Atlantic salmon gills and further used to monitor disease progression on a marine Atlantic salmon farm in Ireland in conjunction with gross gill pathology and histopathology. The assay proved specific for N. perurans, with no cross-reactivity with the related species N. pemaquidensis, N. branchiphila or N. aestuarina, and was capable of detecting 2.68 copies of N. perurans DNA μl−1. Although the parasite was detected throughout the 18 mo period of this study, mortality peaks associated with clinical AGD were only recorded during the first 12 mo of the marine phase of the production cycle. The initial AGD outbreak resulted in peak mortality in Week 17, which was preceded by PCR detections from Week 13 onwards. Freshwater treatments were an effective method for controlling the disease, resulting in a reduction in the weekly mortality levels and also a reduction in the number of PCR-positive fish. In comparison to traditional diagnostic methods, our PCR assay proved to be highly sensitive and a valuable tool to monitor disease progression and, therefore, has the potential to provide information on the timing and effectiveness of treatments.
    • Management and control of proliferative kidney disease (PKD) in a freshwater Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) farm in Ireland: a case history

      Quigley, D.T.G.; McArdle, J.F. (Fish Veterinary Society, 1998)
      During July 1992, an acute clinical outbreak of proliferative kidney disease (PKD) was experienced in two strains (‘Irish’ and ‘Norwegian’) of juvenile (age 0+) Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) held at two adjacent freshwater sites on the River Lee in southern Ireland. Various management strategies (including reduced stocking densities, handling, feeding rates and increased oxygenation), and treatment regimes (involving malachite green and fumagillin DCH) were used to control the disease. A total of 1·3 million juveniles died during the PKD outbreak, representing 61·6% and 54·6% of the Norwegian stock at the two farms respectively. The Irish stock appeared to be more resistant to the disease and only 15·6% died. The weekly prevalence of PKD fluctuated throughout the summer but seemed to disappear by mid-August. Although PKD was detected again during 1993, no clinical outbreak occurred. In conjunction with the management strategies adopted in 1992, seven consecutive weekly prophylactic bath treatments with malachite green (1·6 ppm for 40 minutes) administered prior to mid-July appeared to control the disease. During August 1993, a ten day course of fumagillin (6 mg/kg bodyweight per day) reduced the prevalence of the PKD parasite in a trial batch of juveniles from 24% to zero. The results of this study demonstrated the effectiveness of various management strategies and treatment regimes in controlling PKD.
    • Management of health risks associated with oysters harvested from a norovirus contaminated area, Ireland, February–March 2010

      Doré, B.; Keaveney, S.; Flannery, J.; Rajko-Nenow, P. (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 2010)
      Oysters from a harvesting area responsible for outbreaks of gastroenteritis were relaid at a clean seawater site and subsequently depurated in tanks of purified seawater at elevated temperatures. This combined treatment reduced norovirus levels to those detected prior to the outbreak. On the basis of norovirus monitoring the sale of treated oysters was permitted although the harvest area remained closed for direct sale of oysters. No reports of illness have been associated with the consumption of treated oysters.
    • MATT: Monitoring, Analysis and Toxicity of Toxaphene: improvement of analytical methods

      de Boer, J.; Klungsøyr, J.; Nesje, G.; Meier, S.; McHugh, B.; Nixon, E.; Rimkus, G.G. (1999)
      The European Research Project MATT (Investigation into the Monitoring, Analysis and Toxicity of Toxaphene) started in 1997 and had the objective to provide information on toxicological risks to the consumer of toxaphene residues in fish from European waters. This report includes information on the analytical block of the project, which comprised three studies.
    • Mercury assessment in the marine environment: assessment criteria comparison (EAC/EQS) for mercury

      OSPAR Commission; McHugh, B.; Berbee, R.; Farmer, E.; Fryer, R.; Green, N.; Larsen, M.M.; Webster, L.; Lepom, P.; McGovern, E.; et al. (OSPAR Commission, 2016)
      Mercury is known for its worldwide environmental impact. It is addressed by several existing international agreements addressing atmospheric emissions (CLRTAP), the marine environment (OSPAR, HELCOM, Barcelona, Bucharest), waste (Basel), and export of chemicals (Rotterdam). It can be brought into the biosphere by humans by two different mechanisms: 1) intentional extraction and use, and 2) as a natural constituent in other materials. Mercury is extremely toxic to both man and biota and can be transformed within the aquatic environment into more toxic organic compounds (e.g. methyl mercury). A main pathway of mercury to the sea is atmospheric and it can be carried long distances from its source. The primary risk to the general population is exposure to methylmercury via ingestion of aquatic foods. OSPAR measures and subsequent EU measures regulate the main industrial sources for mercury releases to the environment. A suite of OSPAR measures control mercury emissions, discharges and sources. OSPAR has promoted actions in other international forums, especially the EU, e.g. call for actions to prevent pollution from the disposal of large amounts of pure and waste mercury arising from the closure or conversion of mercury cell chlor-alkali plants and for control measures on the use and marketing of mercury in various products.
    • A Model Compound Study: The ecotoxicological evaluation of five organic contaminants with a battery of marine bioassays

      Macken, A; Giltrap, M; Foley, B; McGovern, E; McHugh, B; Davoren, M (Elsevier, 2008)
      This paper describes the ecotoxicological evaluation of five organic contaminants frequently detected in marine sediments (tributyltin, triphenyltin, benzo[a]pyrene, fluoranthene, and PCB 153) using three marine species (Vibrio fischeri, Tetraselmis suecica, and Tisbe battagliai). The sensitivity of each species varied for all compounds. The triorganotins were consistently the most toxic to all species. The applicability of each test system to assess the acute toxicity of environmental contaminants and their use in Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE) is discussed. Suitability of the Microtox and T. battagliai tests for employment in TIE studies were further assessed through spiking experiments with tributyltin. Results demonstrated that the most effective treatment to remove organotin toxicity from the sample was the C18 resin. The results of this study have important implications for risk assessment in estuarine and coastal waters in Ireland, where, at present the monitoring of sediment and water quality is predominantly reliant on chemical analysis alone. Ecotoxicological evaluation of five organic marine sediment contaminants was conducted and the suitability of the test species for marine porewater TIE discussed.
    • Modelling origin and spread of Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus in the Irish salmon farming industry: the role of inputs

      Ruane, N.M.; Murray, A.G.; Geoghegan, F.; Raynard, R.S. (Elsevier, 2009)
      Observed emergence of IPNV in farmed Irish salmon is simulated using a model originally developed to analyse the spread of the virus in Scotland [Murray, A.G., 2006a. A model of the spread of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus in Scottish salmon farms 1996–2003. Ecol. Model. 199, 64–72]. IPNV appears to have become established relatively recently in Ireland and the model is altered to explicitly simulate the origin of the spread of the virus. Input to freshwater farms was key to initiation of infection, but modelling suggests that endogenous spread was responsible for much of the subsequent increase in prevalence of IPNV. From the modelling, it is unlikely that direct imports accounted for most IPNV cases. If this is the case, cessation of imports, without a substantial improvement in biosecurity, would be likely to be of only limited effect in controlling IPNV. Marine IPNV prevalence appears to be insensitive to direct interventions in the marine environment (as in the Scottish model). A multi-element control strategy, targeting both endogenous spread and external input of infection and prioritising freshwater sites, but extending to marine sites, would probably now be required to eradicate IPNV from Ireland.