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Potential estuarine water quality improvement via marine invertebrate bioremediation

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Date Issued:
Title: Potential estuarine water quality improvement via marine invertebrate bioremediation.
Name(s): Draughon, Lisa D.
Scarpa, John
Keating, Patricia
Hartmann, James X.
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Article
Date Issued: 2008
Publisher: Athens Institute for Education and Research
Place of Publication: Athens
Physical Form: pdf
Extent: 18 p.
Language(s): English
Identifier: FA00007399 (IID)
Note(s): Estuarine water quality has declined during the past 100 years due to the development of land and harbors by mankind. Increasing nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer run-off has enabled algal blooms with subsequent increases in chlorophyll a and turbidity. Shoreline modification has altered water circulation in some bodies of water, resulting in unhealthy bacterial concentrations. These factors have caused a reduction in water clarity. Regulations have had a favorable impact in reducing the input of nutrients. However, the utilization of native filter-feeding invertebrates for the bioremediation of estuarine waters contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, unwanted algae, and general turbidity has not been thoroughly evaluated. Tunicates, commonly found in estuarine waters throughout the world, are capable of indiscriminate filtration of organic and inorganic particles, making them potential bioremediators. Therefore, the subtropical rough tunicate Styela plicata was examined for its prospective reduction of bacterial particle concentration. Laboratory tests reveal one average size (~ 40 g) S. plicata, exposed to 10^5 and 10^6 bacteria ml-1, can filter as much as 4.7 L hr-1 with 100% efficiency. From these results it is estimated that 200 rough tunicates could fully remove 10^5 bacteria ml-1 from 22,600 L each day. The size and concentration of suspended particulates, water flow, and temperature would affect the rate of bacterial removal. Controlled concentrations of filter-feeders, such as the rough tunicate, strategically placed in contaminated areas could substantially reduce unwanted bacteria and algae, thus improving water quality. Other tunicates or filter-feeders common to problematic areas warrant further investigation in bioremediation.
Florida Atlantic University. Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute contribution 1722
This manuscript is an author version with the final publication available and may be cited as: Draughon, L., Scarpa, J., Keating, P., & Hartmann, J. X. (2008). Potential estuarine water quality improvement via marine invertebrate bioremediation. In M. Theophanides & T. Theophanides (Eds.), Environmental awareness and management (pp. 97-112). Athens: Athens Institute for Education and Research.
Subject(s): Estuaries
Water quality
Marine invertebrates
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Host Institution: FAU