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Microanalysis of fish otoliths; a biomonitor of estuary health

Project Member(s): Booth, D., Phillips, M.

Start year: 2001

Summary: Estuaries adjacent to major cities are generally degraded through sewage and industrial effluent. Traditionally, sampling of estuary sediments and water has been used to monitor the state of estuaries, but the use of biomonitors (assays of pollutant uptake by organisms) has more relevance in comparison with biodiversity and human health. In this study, we propose to use fish otoliths (earstones) as biomonitors of heavy metal pollution in Hawkesbury River estuary, NSW. Otoliths, when sectioned, reveal growth rings. By state-of-the-art techniques of catholulimnescence and environmental scanning electron microscopy, we will determine metal uptake patterns for the toadfish (Telectanos glaber) over its lifetime. The study will provide a unique spatial and temporal picture of bioavailable metal concentrations, critical in managing these pollutants.

FOR Codes: Life Histories (incl. Population Ecology), Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology), Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment, Fisheries-commercial, Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment, Population Ecology