A battery of biochemical biomarkers and the SigmaPCB concentration in adult female perch (Perca fluviatilis) verified an aquatic pollution gradient with the city of Stockholm (Sweden) as a point source of anthropogenic substances. The investigation included both an upstream gradient, 46 km westwards through Lake M?laren, and a downstream gradient, 84 km eastwards through the Stockholm archipelago. Besides the main gradient from Stockholm, there were strong indications of pollution coming from the Baltic Sea. The results indicated a severe pollution situation in central Stockholm, with poor health status of the perch, characterised by increased specific EROD activity in the liver, increased liver EROD somatic index, decreased AChE activity in the muscle, increased amount of DNA adducts in the liver, and a high concentration of biliary 1-pyrenol. In addition, laboratory exposure to common EROD inducers elicited an abnormal response, suggestive of chronic intoxication.
Seasonal variations in seawater temperature require extensive metabolic acclimatization in cold-blooded organisms inhabiting the coastal waters of Europe. Given the energetic costs of acclimatization, differences in adaptive capacity to climatic conditions are to be expected among distinct populations of species that are distributed over a wide geographic range. We studied seasonal variations in the metabolic adjustments of two very common bivalve taxa at European scale. To this end we sampled 16 populations of Mytilus spp. and 10 Macoma balthica populations distributed from 39 degrees to 69 degrees N. The results from this large-scale comprehensive comparison demonstrated seasonal cycles in metabolic rates which were maximized during winter and springtime, and often reduced in the summer and autumn. Studying the sensitivity of metabolic rates to thermal variations, we found that a broad range of Q (10) values occurred under relatively cold conditions. As habitat temperatures increased the range of Q (10) narrowed, reaching a bottleneck in southern marginal populations during summer. For Mytilus spp., genetic-group-specific clines and limits on Q (10) values were observed at temperatures corresponding to the maximum climatic conditions these geographic populations presently experience. Such specific limitations indicate differential thermal adaptation among these divergent groups. They may explain currently observed migrations in mussel distributions and invasions. Our results provide a practical framework for the thermal ecophysiology of bivalves, the assessment of environmental changes due to climate change and its impact on (and consequences for) aquaculture.
There is now general consensus that climate change is a global threat and a challenge for the 21st century. More and more information is available demonstrating how increased temperature may affect aquatic ecosystems and living resources or how increased water levels may impact coastal zones and their management. Many ecosystems are also affected by human releases of contaminants, for example from land based sources or the atmosphere, which also may cause severe effects. So far these two important stresses on ecosystems have mainly been discussed independently. The present paper is intended to increase awareness among scientists, coastal zone managers and decision makers that climate change will affect contaminant exposure and toxic effects and that both forms of stress will impact aquatic ecosystems and biota. Based on examples from different ecosystems, we discuss risks anticipated from contaminants in a rapidly changing environment and the research required to understand and predict how on-going and future climate change may alter risks from chemical pollution.