All scientific data collected by the Australian Antarctic program (AAp) are eventually described in the Catalogue of Australian Antarctic and Subantarctic Metadata (CAASM). CAASM can be used to search through AAp data descriptions, and it also provides links to access publicly available datasets, which can either be immediately downloaded or obtained from the Australian Antarctic Data Centre (AADC).
Metadata record for data from AAS (ASAC) Project 2933.
See the child records for access to the datasets.
While it is generally thought that Antarctic organisms are highly sensitive to pollution, there is little data to support or disprove this. Such data is essential if realistic environmental guidelines, which take into account unique physical, biological and chemical characteristics of the Antarctic environment, are to be developed. Factors that modify bioavailability, and the effects of common contaminants on a range of Antarctic organisms from micro-algae to macro-invertebrates will be examined. Risk assessment techniques developed will provide the scientific basis for prioritising contaminated site remediation activities in marine environments, and will contribute to the development of guidelines specific to Antarctica.
1. Develop and use toxicity tests to characterise the responses of a range of Antarctic marine invertebrates, micro- and macro-algae to common inorganic and organic contaminants.
2. To examine factors controlling bioavailability and the influence of physical, chemical and biological properties unique to the Antarctic environment on the bioavailability and toxicity of contaminants to biota.
3. To compare the response of Antarctic biota to analogous species in Arctic, temperate and tropical environments in order to determine the applicability of using toxicity data and environmental guidelines developed in other regions of the world for use in the Antarctic.
4. Develop a suite of standard bioassay techniques using Antarctic species to assess the toxicity of mixtures of contaminants (aqueous and sediment-bound) including tip leachates, sewage effluents and contaminated sediments.
5. To establish risk assessment models to predict the potential hazards associated with contaminated sites in Antarctica to marine biota, and to develop Water and Sediment Quality Guidelines for Antarctica to set as targets for the remediation of contaminated marine environments.
Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report:
Progress against objectives:
Due to logistical constraints, only a short field season (5 weeks) was conducted at Casey in 2008/09 and no berths were allocated solely to this project. A team of 6 scientists worked together on an intensive marine sampling program under TRENZ (AAS project 2948, CI Stark) in support of 5 different AAS projects, including this one. The lack of adequate personnel dedicated to this project and the limited time that we were allocated on station hindered progress and meant that no experiments on Antarctic organisms were able to be conducted in situ. The airlink was however successfully used to transport marine invertebrates collected at Casey and held in seawater at 0degC back to Hobart on 3 separate flights. These invertebrates are currently being maintained in the cold water ecotoxicology aquarium facilities at Kingston. Once they are sorted and where possible established in cultures, they will be used in toxicity tests.
Progress against specific objects are:
1) Much effort and time has been put towards the husbandry and culture of the collected Antarctic marine invertebrates. Some species are now successfully breeding in the laboratory providing new generations and sensitive juvenile stages of invertebrates to work with in toxicity tests. This culturing capability, if able to be developed, will hugely extend opportunities for carrying out research for this project, by giving us access to live material over the winter months and during summer when berths to or space on station in Antarctica is limited. Toxicity tests using some of the common amphipods and gastropods collected in the 0809 season at Casey will commence shortly at Kingston.
2) Toxicity tests to commence shortly using invertebrates collected in the 0809 season now being maintained in the Ecotoxicology aquarium will focus on interactions and potentially synergistic effects of contaminants along with other environmental stressors including increases in temperature and decreases in salinity associated with predicted environmental changes in response to climate change.
3) A phD candidate has recently started on this project and is currently reviewing all available literature on the response of Antarctic species to contaminants and environmental stressors in comparison to related species from lower latitudes.
4) Invertebrates collected in the 0809 season that are being maintained in the Ecotoxicology aquarium will be screened in toxicity tests to commence shortly. Methods will then be developed using the most suitable and sensitive species to form the basis of standard bioassay procedures that can be used to test mixtures such as sewage effluents and tip leachates in the upcoming season.
5) The establishment of risk assessment models and Environmental Quality Guidelines for Antarctica is a long term goal of this project when data from the first 4 objectives can be synthesised and hence has not yet been addressed.
Taken from the 2009-2010 Progress Report:
Progress against objectives:
Objectives 1 and 2: Metal effects on the behaviour and survival of three marine invertebrate species were investigated during the field season. Two replicate toxicity tests were conducted on the larvae of sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri where combined effects of metal (copper and cadmium) and temperature (-1, 1 and 3 degrees Celsius) were to be investigated on developmental success. However, due to lower than optimal fertilisation success, both tests were terminated before any meaningful results could be derived.
Four tests were conducted on the adult amphipod, Paramorea walkeri. Two replicate tests investigated combined metal (copper and cadmium) and temperature (-1, 1 and 3 degrees Celsius) effects, and two tests investigated the effects of copper, cadmium, lead, zinc and nickel exposure at ambient sea water temperature of -1 degrees Celsius.
One test was conducted with the micro-gastropod Skenella paludionoides being exposed to copper, cadmium, lead, zinc and nickel at ambient sea water temperature.
The larvae of bivalve Laternula sp. were also investigated as a potential test organism for metal toxicity. Strip spawning was conducted a number of times, however, this technique did not provide adequate levels of fertilisation success and as such, the toxicity tests on larval development were not completed.
Objective 3: A phD candidate working on this project is in the process of compiling a review of all available date on the response of Antarctic species to contaminants and environmental stressors in comparison to related species from lower latitudes. This literature review will form a major component of her thesis' first chapter
Objective 4: Methods for Standard bioassay procedures were developed using the most suitable and sensitive species, the amphipod Paramoera walkeri and the microgastropod Skenella paludionoides. These standard tests were then used to assess the toxicity of sewage effluent at Davis Station (in conjunction with project 3217).
Objective 5: Toxicity tests on sewage effluent were conducted as part of a risk assessment to determine hazards associated with the current discharge. The determined toxicity of the sewage effluent will provide a basis for guideline recommendations on the required level of treatment and on what constitutes an adequate or 'safe' dilution factor for dispersal of the effluent discharge to the near shore marine environment.
The values provided in temporal and spatial coverage are approximate only.
Taken from the 2008-2009 Progress Report:
Variations to work plan or objectives:
With greatly reduced field work possible in the 2008/09 season, the work plan for this project has been modified this year. The experiments planned to be conducted in situ in Antarctica over the 0809 summer season will now be done over the 2009 winter in the Ecotoxicology aquarium facilities at Kingston. The lack of project personnel and the short field season on station this past season will certainly result in changes to the future work plan, and attempts will be made to maximise time on station for several project personnel over the next 2 to 3 seasons to enable this project to be completed.
A short field season of approximately 5 weeks was conducted at Casey in 2008/09 with a team of 6 scientists working together on an intensive marine sampling program under TRENZ (AAS project 2948, CI Stark) in support of 5 different AAS projects including this one. Sampling of live invertebrates for this project was done in various habitats at several locations on the coast close to Casey. Sampling was done by dip netting, grab samples, dredges, traps, and by snorkellers. No in situ experimental field work was possible over this short season with such a small team. Hopefully berths on station will be less limited over the next 2 to 3 seasons, the Marine Ecotoxicology aquarium field module will be completed and taken south as cargo, and the dive program will take place at Davis station. With a larger team available to work on this project, and more time allocated to be on station, we should be able to generate the data required to complete this project over the next few years. It is anticipated that our project team will spend 4-6 months at Davis station this year working with the dive team and using the field aquarium module currently being built by the STS workshop.
Laboratory experiments were not possible at Casey this season for reasons discussed previously. Experiments with live invertebrates will therefore be conducted in the marine ecotoxicology aquarium here at Kingston over the next months prior to the 2009/10 field season. It is anticipated that with the capability of the Ecotoxicology aquarium here at Kingston and the Marine Ecotoxicology aquarium field module that laboratory based toxicity tests will be able to be run almost year, so long as adequate support is provided to the maintenance of these aquarium facilities in the future.
Difficulties affecting project:
The main difficulty experienced in this project was the lack of available berths for the 2008/09 (and the previous 2007/08) season. While this has delayed progress, it is unlikely to affect the overall outcomes of the project in the long term and has not resulted in significant changes to the project objectives or design. In addition, we have modified the project to include more use of the cold water facilities at Kingston which hopefully when fully developed will enable experiments to be carried out year round.
Taken from the 2009-2010 Progress Report:
A field season was conducted at Davis in 2009/10 with 2 project personnel. Sampling of live invertebrates for this project was done in various habitats at several locations on the coast close to Davis. Sampling sites were accessed either by IRB, helicopter or on foot. Sampling was done by dip netting and by snorkellers.
Laboratory experiments were conducted at Davis this season using live invertebrates. Unfortunately the decommissioning of the Ecotoxicology Lab at Kingston means that laboratory experimentation will be limited to field seasons in the immediate future until upgrades and modifications can be completed.
See the child records for access to the data.
This data set conforms to the CCBY Attribution License
Please follow instructions listed in the citation reference provided at http://data.aad.gov.au/aadc/metadata/citation.cfm?entry_id=Ecotoxicology when using these data.