• A test battery approach to the ecotoxicological evaluation of cadmium and copper employing a battery of marine bioassays

      Macken, A; Giltrap, M; Ryall, K; Foley, B; McGovern, E; McHugh, B; Davoren, M (Springer, 2009)
      Heavy metals are ubiquitous contaminants of the marine environment and can accumulate and persist in sediments. The toxicity of metal contaminants in sediments to organisms is dependent on the bioavailability of the metals in both the water and sediment phases and the sensitivity of the organism to the metal exposure. This study investigated the effects of two metal contaminants of concern (CdCl2 and CuCl2) on a battery of marine bioassays employed for sediment assessment. Cadmium, a known carcinogen and widespread marine pollutant, was found to be the least toxic of the two assayed metals in all in vivo tests. However CdCl2 was found to be more toxic to the fish cell lines PLHC-1 and RTG-2 than CuCl2. Tisbe battagliai was the most sensitive species to both metals and the Microtox® and cell lines were the least sensitive (cadmium was found to be three orders of magnitude less toxic to Vibrio fischeri than to T. battagliai). The sensitivity of Tetraselmis suecica to the two metals varied greatly. Marine microalgae are among the organisms that can tolerate higher levels of cadmium. This hypothesis is demonstrated in this study where it was not possible to derive an EC50 value for CdCl2 and the marine prasinophyte, T. suecica. Conversely, CuCl2 was observed to be highly toxic to the marine alga, EC50 of 1.19 mg l-1. The genotoxic effect of Cu on the marine phytoplankton was evaluated using the Comet assay. Copper concentrations ranging from 0.25 to 2.50 mg l-1 were used to evaluate the effects. DNA damage was measured as percent number of comets and normal cells. There was no significant DNA damage observed at any concentration of CuCl2 tested and no correlation with growth inhibition and genetic damage was found.
    • Toward design criteria in constructed oyster reefs: oyster recruitment as a function of substrate type and tidal height

      O'Beirn, F.X.; Luchenbach, M.W.; Nestlerode, J.A.; Coates, G.M. (National Shellfisheries Association, 2000)
      Restoration of degraded oyster reef habitat generally begins with the addition of substrate that serves as a reef base and site for oyster spat attachment. Remarkably, little is known about how substrate type and reef morphology affect the development of oyster populations on restored reefs. Three-dimensional, intertidal reefs were constructed near Fisherman's Island, Virginia: two reefs in 1995 using surfclam (Spisula solidissima) shell and six reefs in 1996 using surfclam shell, oyster shell, and stabilized coal ash. We have monitored oyster recruitment and growth quarterly at three tidal heights (intertidal, mean low water, and subtidal) on each reef type since their construction. Oyster recruitment in 1995 exceeded that observed in the two subsequent years. High initial densities on the 1995 reefs decreased and stabilized at a mean of 418 oyster/m2. Oyster settlement occurred on all reef types and tidal heights in 1996; however, postsettlement mortality on the surfclam shell and coal ash reefs exceeded that on the oyster shell reefs, which remained relatively constant throughout the year (mean = 935 oysters/m2). Field observations suggest that predation accounts for most of the observed mortality and that the clam shell and coal ash reefs, which have little interstitial space, suffer greater predation. Oyster abundance was consistently greatest higher in the intertidal zone on all reefs in each year studied. The patterns observed here lead to the preliminary conclusion that the provision of spatial refugia (both intertidal and interstitial) from predation is an essential feature of successful oyster reef restoration in this region. In addition, high levels of recruitment can provide a numerical refuge, whereby the oysters themselves will provide structure and increase the probability of an oyster population establishing successfully on the reef.
    • Toxic phytoplankton in Irish waters

      Silke, J.; McMahon, T.; Nolan, A. (1995)
      The subject of harmful and toxic marine algae has recently gained a growing public and scientific interest both in Ireland and abroad because of the occurrence of these toxins in shellfish.
    • Toxicological risks to humans of toxaphene residues in fish

      Leonards, P.E.G.; Besselink, H.; Klungsøyr, J.; McHugh, B.; Nixon, E.; Rimkus, G.G.; Brouwer, A.; de Boer, J. (Wiley, 2011)
      A revised risk assessment for toxaphene was developed, based on the assumption that fish consumers are only exposed to toxaphene residues that differ substantially from technical toxaphene due to environmental degradation and metabolism. In vitro studies confirmed that both technical toxaphene and degraded toxaphene inhibit gap junctional intercellular communication that correlates with the mechanistic potential to cause tumour promotion. In vivo rat studies established the NOAEL for degraded and technical toxaphene at the highest dose tested in the bioassay. Toxaphene residue intakes from European fishery products were estimated and compared to the provisional tolerable daily intakes (TDIs) from various regulatory agencies including Canada, the United States, Germany. The estimated intake was also compared to a new calculated provisional MATT pTDI. The MATT pTDI is based upon new toxicological information (in vivo rat studies) developed on a model for environmental toxaphene residues rather than technical toxaphene. A MATT pTDI (1.08 mg total toxaphene for a person of 60 kg) for tumour promotion potency was adopted for use in Europe and is hitherto referred to as the MATT pTDI. These new data result in a better estimate of safety and a higher TDI than previously used. Based on realistic fish consumption data and recent baseline concentration data of toxaphene in European fishery products the toxaphene intake for the consumers of Germany, Ireland, Norway and The Netherlands was estimated. For an average adult fish consumer the average daily intake of toxaphene was estimated to be 1.2 µg, and 0.4, 0.5, and 0.2 µg for the consumers of Norway, Germany, Ireland, and The Netherlands, respectively. The toxaphene intake of these average fish consumers was far below the MATT pTDI of 1.08 mg/60 kg body weight. In conclusion, based on the most relevant toxicological studies and the most realistic estimates of fish consumption and recent concentrations of toxaphene in European fishery products, adverse health effects are unlikely for the average European consumer of fishery products. In no case is the MATT pTDI exceeded.
    • The use of immunoassay technology in the monitoring of algal biotoxins in farmed shellfish

      Wilson, A.; Keady, E.; Silke, J.; Raine, R. (International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, 2013)
      The use of immunoassay technology as an adjunct method for monitoring biotoxins in shellfish was investigated at aquaculture sites in Killary Harbour, Ireland, during summer 2009. Sub-samples of mussels (Mytilus edulis) were taken from batches collected as part of the Irish National Phytoplankton and Biotoxin Monitoring Programme (NMP). Samples were analysed for Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins using a commercially available ELISA immunoassay kit. The results were compared with those obtained by chemical (liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry, LC-MS) and biological (mouse bioassay, MBA) methods from the monitoring programme. DSP levels increased in late June 2009 over the European Union maximum permitted level of 0.16 μg g-1 and positive MBA results led to harvest closures. This event was reflected in both the chemical and immunoassay results, where a positive relationship between them was found.
    • Use of LC-MS testing to identify lipophilic toxins, to establish local trends and interspecies differences and to test the comparability of LC-MS testing with the mouse bioassay: an example from the Irish biotoxin monitoring programme 2001

      Hess, P.; McMahon, T.; Slattery, D.; Swords, D.; Dowling, G.; McCarron, M.; Clarke, D.; Gobbons, W.; Silke, J.; O'Cinneide, M. (Conselleria de Pesca e Asuntos Maritimos da Xunta de Galicia and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, 2003)
      During 2001, the Marine Institute has extended its range of chemical tests to include the analysis of DSP toxins by Liquid Chromatography coupled to Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS). Thus the range of compounds determined extends from domoic acid over DSP compounds (okadaic acid and DTXs) to azaspiracids (AZAs). These tests complement the mouse bioassay, which is the current reference method for lipophilic toxins within the European Community. The development and performance characteristics of the LC-MS method are discussed. Isomer patterns and interspecies differences are discussed as well as local trends in time and variability at one production site at a given time. Comparison of the LC-MS results with the results from the mouse bioassay showed good agreement (93%), and a small but significant number of discrepancies (7%). Overall, the chemical testing has proven to be an invaluable tool in the assessment of shellfish toxicity in Ireland. Lacks of standards and reference materials are discussed as well as the need for further research into the equivalence of methods.
    • Utilising caging techniques to investigate metal assimilation in Nucella lapillus, Mytilus edulis and Crassostrea gigas at three Irish coastal locations

      Giltrap, M.; Macken, A.; Davoren, M.; McGovern, E.; Foley, B.; Larsen, M.; White, J.; McHugh, B. (Elsevier, 2013)
      Pollution by metals has been of increasing concern for a number of decades but at present, the mechanism of metal accumulation in sentinel species is not fully understood and further studies are required for environmental risk assessment of metals in aquatic environments. The use of caging techniques has proven to be useful for assessment of water quality in coastal and estuarine environments. This study investigates the application of caging techniques for monitoring uptake of 20 elements [Li, Na, Mg, Al, P, K, Ca, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Co, Cu, As, Sb, Pb, Hg, Cd and Zn] in three marine species namely Nucella lapillus, Mytilus edulis and Crassostrea gigas. Stable isotopes were used to determine predatory effects and also used for modelling metal uptake in test species and to track nutrient assimilation. Metal levels were monitored at three different coastal locations, namely Dublin Bay, Dunmore East and Omey Island over 18 weeks. Significant differences in concentrations of Mn, Co and Zn between mussels and oysters were found. Correlations between cadmium levels in N. lapillus and δ13C and δ15N suggest dietary influences in Cd uptake. Levels of Zn were highest in C. gigas compared to the other two species and levels of Zn were most elevated at the Dunmore East site. Copper levels were more elevated in all test species at both Dublin Bay and Dunmore East. Mercury was raised in all species at Dunmore East compared to the other two sites. Biotic accumulation of metals in the test species demonstrates that caging techniques can provide a valid tool for biomonitoring in metal impacted areas.
    • Viral gametocytic hypertrophy of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas in Ireland

      Cheslett, D.; McKiernan, F; Hickey, C; Collins, E (Inter Research, 2009)
      Viral gametocytic hypertrophy (VGH) was detected during an investigation of mortalities in Pacific oysters Crassostrea gigas from 2 separate Irish production sites. The basophilic inclusions were observed in the gonad tissue of oysters sampled in August and October 2007. The oysters involved did not show any macroscopic disease signs. Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated the presence of viral particles in these intranuclear inclusions. The particles were small, non-enveloped, icosahedral and approximately 50 nm in diameter and thus had characteristics similar to the Papillomaviridae and Polyomaviridae families. No host defence reaction was observed. The viral particles described here appear to be similar to those described in C. virginica from the USA and Canada and to those described in C. gigas from Korea and France.
    • Water Framework Directive: marine ecological tools for reference, intercalibration and classification (METRIC): final report for the ERTDI-funded project: 2005-W-MS-36

      Cusack, C.; O’Beirn, F.X.; King, J.J.; Silke, J.; Keirse, G.; Whyte, B.I.; Leahy, Y.; Noklegaard, T.; McCormack, E.; McDermott, G. (EPA, 2008)
      Water quality monitoring programmes exist in many of the Member States throughout the European Union (EU). With the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD, Council Directive 2000/60/EC) all Member States must harmonise their national monitoring methods for each common metric (parameter indicative of a biological water quality element) used to determine the state of the aquatic environment to ensure consistent and comparable classification results for all biological community quality elements used (WFD Annex V, 1.4.1). The Marine Ecological Tools for Reference, Intercalibrationand Classification (METRIC) project, therefore, was designed specifically to support the Irish role in the EU Intercalibration Exercise of biological quality elements (BQEs) in order to set harmonised ecological quality criteria for the assessment of water quality in the transitional and coastal (TraC) waters of Europe. The BQEs investigated by METRIC included: Plants (phytoplankton, macroalgae andangiosperms), Benthic macroinvertebrates (soft-bottom habitat), Fish (estuarine).