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From fluxes to bioavailability and effects of micropollutants in the Scheldt estuary
Blust, R.; De Wolf, H.; Mubiana, V.; Van De Vijver, I.; De Coen, W.M. (2002). From fluxes to bioavailability and effects of micropollutants in the Scheldt estuary, in: ECSA Local Meeting: ecological structures and functions in the Scheldt Estuary: from past to future, Antwerp, Belgium October 7-10, 2002: abstract book. pp. 29
In: (2002). ECSA Local Meeting: ecological structures and functions in the Scheldt Estuary: from past to future, Antwerp, Belgium October 7-10, 2002: abstract book. University of Antwerp: Antwerp. 73 + 1 cd-rom pp., more

Available in Authors 
  • VLIZ: Proceedings [35164]
  • VLIZ: Open Repository 126747 [ OMA ]
Document type: Conference paper

Keywords
    Estuarine organisms; Fresh water; Heavy metals; Pollutants; Sea water; Toxicity; Mytilus edulis Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Belgium, Schelde R. [Marine Regions]

Authors  Top 
  • Van De Vijver, I., more
  • De Coen, W.M., more

Abstract
    The Scheldt estuary receives large amounts of pollutants from mainly freshwater sources. This results in rather strong decreasing pollutant gradients from the freshwater to the seawater end of the estuary. Although the situation has improved considerably over the last decade the gradients are still clearly present. Metal and organic pollution loads are usually expressed in terms of the total concentrations of the pollutants present in the exposure phases (i.e. dissolved, suspended, sediment). However, in many cases there is no clear relationship between the concentrations of the contaminants in the environment and the accumulation and effects in biological systems. This is related to the fact that both uptake and effects strongly depend on the biological availability of the pollutants and on the physiological organisation and condition of the organisms being exposed. The situation is especially complex in estuarine systems such as the Scheldt, which are characterised by relatively strong salinity and pollution gradients. The development of functional models for the effects of pollution on estuarine organisms requires the coupling of exposure, to accumulation and effects data taking into account changes in abiotic and biotic conditions. Using both field and laboratory approaches the effect of exposure conditions on the accumulation and toxicity of heavy metals and some classes of organic microcontaminants are studied using sentinel organisms such as the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis. The results are used to evaluate the pollution status of the Scheldt estuary, determine the relative importance of different exposure routes and set exposure treshold values based on exposure-effects relationships.

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