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Title: Evaluation of the use of common sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius) organ histology as bioindicator for element exposure in the fjord of the mining area Maarmorilik, West Greenland

The former Black Angel lead–zinc mine in Maarmorilik, West Greenland, is a historic example of how mining activity may result in a significant impact on the surrounding fjord system in terms of elevated concentrations of especially lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) in seawater, sediments and surrounding biota. In order to shed light on the present contamination and possible effects in the fjord we initiated a range of studies including a pilot study on gill and liver morphology of common sculpins (Myoxocephalus scorpius) around Maarmorilik. Sculpins were caught and sampled at five different stations known to represent a gradient of Pb concentrations. Fish livers from all specimens were analyzed for relevant elements in the area: Fe, Zn, As, Cu, Se, Cd, Pb, Ag, Hg, Co and Ni. Lead, As and Hg showed significant differences among the five stations. For 20% of the sculpins, Hg concentrations were in the range of lowest observed effect dose (LOED) of 0.1–0.5 μg/g ww for toxic threshold on reproduction and subclinical endpoints. Likewise LOEDs for tissue lesions, LOEDs for biochemistry, growth, survival and reproduction were exceeded for Cd (0.42–1.8 μg/g ww) and for As (11.6 μg/g ww) in 28% and 85% of the sculpins, respectively. Similarmore » to this, the no observed effect dose (NOED) for biochemistry was exceeded for Pb (0.32 μg/g ww) and for growth, mortality and reproduction for Zn (60–68 μg/g ww) in 33% and 24% of the sculpins, respectively. For all sculpins, females were significantly larger than males and for five of the elements (Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Se) females had higher concentrations. The chronic lesions observed in liver (mononuclear cell infiltrates, necrosis, vacuolar hepatocytes, portal fibrosis, bile duct hyperplasia, active melanomacrophage centers) and gills (fusion and edema of secondary lamellae, laminar telangiectasis, mononuclear cell infiltrates, blebs) were similar to those in the literature studies for both wild and laboratory exposed sculpins and other fish species carrying similar or higher Hg concentrations. Ignoring sex and size, specimens with hepatic cell infiltrates had the highest concentrations of most elements, a relation that was also found for gill telangiectasis and Hg (all p<0.05). When controlling for sex and size, the prevalence of vacuolar hepatocytes and endoparasites was significantly highest at the three most contaminated stations and similar differences were found for liver necrosis. We suggest that beside exposure to mining-related elements, other environmental factors, such as parasites, might be co-factors in the development of the observed liver and gill lesions. Therefore, sculpin liver and gill pathology are likely to be suitable health indicators when biomonitoring gradients of mining and other element related activity effects; while a larger study is required to fully evaluate the relationships. - Highlights: • Black Angel Pb–Zn mine in West Greenland has led to significant metal pollution. • Gill and liver morphology of common sculpins was evaluated as bioindicators. • Significant pathologies were found and were related to metal concentrations. • Sculpin pathology may be suitable health indicators for mining activity effects. • These should be enrolled in EIAs of raw material industrialization in the Arctic.« less
Authors:
 [1] ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Aarhus University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Bioscience, Arctic Research Centre (ARC), Frederiksborgvej 399, P.O. Box 358, DK-4000 Roskilde (Denmark)
  2. University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Bülowsvej 17, DK-1870 Frederiksberg (Denmark)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22447540
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Research; Journal Volume: 133; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ABUNDANCE; ANIMAL TISSUES; ARSENIC; BILIARY TRACT; BIOCHEMISTRY; BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS; CONCENTRATION RATIO; CONTAMINATION; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; GILLS; GREENLAND; LAMELLAE; LEAD; LIVER; LIVER CELLS; MERCURY; MINING; MORPHOLOGY; NECROSIS; PATHOLOGY; REPRODUCTION; SEAWATER; TELANGIECTASIS; ZINC; ZINC 60