Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Mussel power - fit for monitoring the Kiwi coastline

Mussel power - fit for monitoring the Kiwi coastline, UC researcher says

November 1, 2012

A University of Canterbury PhD student has discovered that mussels are an effective marine organism to monitor coastal metal pollution in New Zealand.

Green-lipped mussels are ecologically, culturally and economically important, but are also among the most sensitive coastal organisms that have been tested, at least in terms of their response to the toxic metal, cadmium, UC researcher Rathishri Chandurvelan said today.

Mussels are sedentary, widespread and as filter feeders are constantly 'sampling' the surrounding environment, she said.

``Cadmium can be found at high levels in New Zealand waters, usually a consequence of natural geological enrichment, but also as a function of industrial or agricultural contamination.

``I used an integrated laboratory and field approach to assess the effects of metals on mussels by examining a number of cellular, biochemical and physiological pathways that were impacted by cadmium exposure.

``We found that these mussels survive exposure to a highly toxic metal such as cadmium, which has no known biological functions. Field mussels were collected from Canterbury, the West Coast and Nelson regions during my three year research.

``A number of metals were measured in mussel tissues and in the environment samples. We found that some of the “clean” sites we had chosen turned out to be contaminated. Some sites in Canterbury which we thought were clean were found to be contaminated with zinc, lead and arsenic. We believe contamination occurred after the earthquakes.

``We don’t know the source. It could be from a broken sewer pipe or it could be from the disturbance of the sea floor during the earthquakes.’’

The data Chandurvelan collected showed that the New Zealand green-lipped mussels were sensitive enough to respond to the presence of metals in the environment, but strong enough to tolerate exposure to such toxic metals.

``This makes NZ green-lipped mussels an ideal candidate for coastal bio-monitoring purposes. Future work may involve transplanting some mussels to monitor certain areas.’’

The UC project was funded by the Brian Mason Scientific and Technical Trust.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Leighton-Led WGP To Build, Manage Transmission Gully

The Wellington Gateway Partnership, led by a unit of ASX-listed Leighton Holdings, has won the $1 billion contract to build the Transmission Gully road north of Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Gareth Morgan: The Government’s Fresh Water Policy – Revisited

Fresh water quality is the latest area to be in the sights of Gareth Morgan and his research organisation The Morgan Foundation... They found that the fresh water policy was a bit murkier than the Environment Minister let on. More>>

ALSO:

Interest Rates: RBNZ Hikes OCR To 3.5%, ‘Period Of Assessment’ Now Needed

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler raised the official cash rate as expected, while signalling a pause in rate hikes to assess the impact of moves so far this year. The kiwi dollar sank after Wheeler said its strength was “unjustified” and that the currency could have “a significant fall.” More>>

ALSO:

Fonterra: Canpac Site 'Resize' To Focus More On Paediatrics

Fonterra is looking at realigning its packing operations at Canpac, in the Waikato, to focus more on paediatric nutritionals... The proposed changes could mean around 110 roles may not be required at the site which currently employs 330. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Postie Plus Brand Gets 2nd Chance With Well-Funded Pepkor

The Postie Plus brand is getting a new lease of life after South Africa’s Pepkor bought the failed retailer’s assets out of administration and said it will use its purchasing power to reduce costs of stock and fatten margins. More>>

ALSO:

Warming: Warming Signs From State Of Climate Report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched by U.S. and New Zealand scientists. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news