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State-of-the-Knowledge Report: Ecotoxicology in a Changing Global Climate

Published on: 07/16/2015
Research Area(s): Coastal Change
Primary Contact(s): marie.delorenzo@noaa.gov

NCCOS scientist, Marie DeLorenzo, used results of toxicity testing at the NCCOS laboratory in Charleston, SC, along with a compilation of peer-reviewed literature studies to summarize the state-of-the-knowledge of the impacts of climate change on the ecotoxicology of chemical contaminants in estuarine organisms. Trends in effect of temperature and salinity on chemical contaminant toxicity were evaluated by chemical class (pesticides, metals, hydrocarbons) for each taxonomic group (algae, macrophytes, molluscs, crustaceans, fish).

Although estuarine organisms are uniquely adapted to large fluctuations in temperature, salinity, oxygen, and pH, future changes in climate may make them more susceptible to chemical contaminants. Climate-driven variations in water quality may impact the toxicity of pollutants, both because of altered chemical fate and transport, and as a consequence of changes in physiological response. Understanding how climate alters chemical contaminant exposure and effects will be critical to achieving valid environmental risk assessments.

The results indicate the importance of considering multi-stressor interactions on estuarine species and provide managers with information they can use in protecting coastal zone resources. Thereview article was recently published in a special issue “Ecotoxicology in a Changing Global Climate” in volume 61, issue no. 4 (July-August, 2015) of the journal Current Zoology.

For more information contact Marie DeLorenzo.

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