Integrating environmental sampling and wildlife biomonitoring in exposure and effects assessment: genotoxins at multiple levels of biological organization

Ecotoxicology studies attempt to evaluate the consequences of exposure to environmental contaminants by defining exposure and effects parameters across multiple levels of biological organization. Genetic markers are well-suited for these studies as they can track both somatic and evolutionary effect...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Swartz, Carol Dorothea
Other Authors: Donnelly, Kirby C.
Format: Others
Language:en_US
Published: Texas A&M University 2004
Subjects:
Online Access:http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/269
Description
Summary:Ecotoxicology studies attempt to evaluate the consequences of exposure to environmental contaminants by defining exposure and effects parameters across multiple levels of biological organization. Genetic markers are well-suited for these studies as they can track both somatic and evolutionary effects. In the studies reported here, connections among contaminant levels in environmental media and biota, in vitro bioassay results, and changes in individual- and population-level biomarkers were explored. Sediment and/or wildlife samples were collected from each of three sites of documented environmental contamination, Sumgayit and Baku in the Republic of Azerbaijan and East Fork Poplar Creek in Tennessee. Sumgayit and Baku are heavily contaminated with petroleum and petrochemical wastes. Sediments from several areas and tissues from turtles inhabiting a contaminated wetland contained high levels of several compounds, including mercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, and organochlorine pesticides. Sediment extracts produced variable responses in the Salmonella/microsome mutagenicity assay and did not necessarily reflect contaminant burden. Micronucleus counts in European pond turtles were not statistically different from counts in the same species from an uncontaminated reference site. The counts were statistically correlated with tissue levels of mercury, heptachlor, DDD, hexachlorobenzene, and trans-nonachlor. These results confirmed that Sumgayit and Baku are heavily contaminated with a complex mixture of pollutants and demonstrated that genotoxic effects from exposure to contaminated sediments appear to be slight. East Fork Poplar Creek is a stream that receives contaminant influx from a former Department of Energy nuclear weapons production facility and several point and non-point sources around the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In this study, coefficient of variation in cellular DNA content and randomly amplified polymorphic DNA markers were examined in central stonerollers and compared to previous studies in which the same markers were evaluated in red-breasted sunfish from the same sites. While assay responses were attenuated in stonerollers compared to the sunfish, there is some evidence of genetic damage in both species at the most contaminated sampling site. A common problem in the wildlife studies was high within sample variability combined with small sample size, which most likely masked potential contaminant-induced differences in markers used in these studies.