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Impact assessment and ecotoxicological and chemical monitoring of petroleum hydrocarbons in coastal reefs and rivers impacted by emulsified petroleum along Pernambuco State coastline

Grant number: 20/03828-3
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2020 - September 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Cooperation agreement: CONFAP - National Council of State Research Support Foundations
Principal Investigator:Ítalo Braga de Castro
Grantee:Ítalo Braga de Castro
Home Institution: Instituto do Mar (IMar). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Baixada Santista. Santos , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Beatrice Padovani Ferreira ; Denis Moledo de Souza Abessa ; Eliete Zanardi Lamardo ; Igor Dias Medeiros ; João Lucas Leão Feitosa ; Lilia Pereira de Souza Santos ; Márcia Caruso Bícego ; Marisa Narciso Fernandes ; Rodrigo Brasil Choueri


The contamination of Pernambuco coast by emulsified oil was characterized as a large-scale environmental disaster. In this sense, we are proposing a modern approach involving the evaluation of chemical parameters to characterize the degree of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), contaminants of high toxic potential in oil, to which species residing in these aquatic environments are subject to. These chemical analyses will be carried out in conjunction with ecotoxicological parameters that will allow an accurate characterization of the biological changes and toxicity resulting from this exposure. In this study, the bioavailability and toxicity of (HPA) and aliphatic hydrocarbons (HAli) of petroleum for fish and benthic invertebrates from reef and river environments will be evaluated. Ecotoxicological techniques focused on the quantification of lethal and sublethal toxicity caused to benthic fish and invertebrates will be applied in 8 reef environments and 2 impacted rivers. These ecotoxicological measures will allow us to perform a diagnosis of environmental quality, comparing impacted environments and control environments (or less impacted). An integrative approach will also be used, based on multidimensional radar diagrams, containing axes for: (1) concentration of HPA in the water column, concentration of HPA and HAli in the sediments, (2) concentration of HPA in bile of Stegastes fuscus, (3) molecular biomarkers of gene expression in Stegastes fuscus, (4) genotoxicity, biotransformation and antioxidant defense biomarkers in S. fuscus, (5) histological biomarkers in reef fish Stegastes fuscus, (6) sediment toxicity for benthic invertebrates, (7) sediment interstitial water and water from the water column toxicity to the copepod Tisbe biminiensis and (8) population abundance of the fish Stegastes fuscus. The metrics on each axis will be relativized to a control site, and the area of the resulting figure with these 8 axes allows a quantitative and graphical comparison between the evaluated sites. The area resulting from this polygon at each point is inversely proportional to its environmental quality. This Project will objectively contribute to facilitate the decision-making process based on the degree of impact on different locations, and also contribute to the monitoring of remediation strategies. In addition, undergraduate and graduate students will be trained to perform studies in aquatic ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry, allowing them to work in the academic field, private companies and state environmental agencies. It is included in our goals to transfer technological tools, methods and knowledge developed in the project to federal agency IBAMA/ICMBIO, and to the state of Pernambuco environmental agency (CPRH), helping in the improvement of pollution monitoring strategies. (AU)