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Acute toxicity evaluation of contaminants associated with the oil industry of invasive coral Tubastraea coccinea: a contribution to the study of pollution in Brazilian reef environments

Grant number: 21/04575-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2021
Effective date (End): June 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal Investigator:Denis Moledo de Souza Abessa
Grantee:Leticia May Fukushima
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB-CLP). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus Experimental do Litoral Paulista. São Vicente , SP, Brazil


Marine pollution has been pointed as one of the biggest warnings for the global environment. Linked to economic exploitation, one of the main examples is the oil and petrochemical industries, which are considered major polluting sources. Tropical and subtropical regions are particularly susceptible to the environmental impacts resulting from these activities, so in this sense, the possible effects on the reef environments that predominate in these areas are pointed out. Brazil harbors a coral fauna considered unique in the world, which has been suffering from various environmental pressures, one of which is the introduction of exotic species, such as the genus Tubastraea (Coral-sol). Due to their characteristics and high dissemination along the Brazilian coast, it is valid to consider its use as a tool in the environmental monitoring of contaminated areas. Brazil has suffered major marine environmental accidents involving the oil industry, such as the fire at the Ultracargo Petrochemical Terminal (2015), in Santos, and the appearance of oil stains in the northeast and southeast regions in 2019 and 2020. The objective of this study is to evaluate adverse biological effects of bunker-C substances, marine diesel, and oil samples from the spill that occurred between 2019 and 2020, in their soluble fractions, and the Agefoam 2133 foam on the species Tubastraea coccinea by means of acute toxicity. From concentrations in increasing series, 5 to 10 replicates per treatment will be exposed for 96 h. Mortalities and other potential sublethal effects will be observed every 24 hours. In the end, the 50% lethality concentrations (Cl50) will be calculated, as well as the observed effect (OEC) and unobserved effect (NOEC) concentrations. Thus, it is intended to generate a protocol for studying the effects of pollutants on corals, which can be used without causing damage to the natural populations of native corals. (AU)

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