Sensitivity Assessment of Contaminant Pressures - Approach Development, Application, and Evidence Reviews

Tyler-Walters, H., Williams, E., Mardle, M.J. and Lloyd, K.A. 2022 Sensitivity Assessment of Contaminant Pressures - Approach Development, Application, and Evidence Reviews. Plymouth, Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 192pp. (UNSPECIFIED)

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Phase 1 of the project explored the range of chemical contaminants likely to affect marine habitats, examined the use of environmental standards (i.e. EQS, ERLs etc) and ‘mixing zones’ as potential benchmarks of chemical contamination, and oil and chemical spills response guidance as benchmarks for incidental spills and discharges. Phase 1 concluded that it was difficult to see how a quantified value or scenario would function as a quantified benchmark for sensitivity assessment. The mechanisms whereby any individual species is exposed to any individual chemical is complex, and varies depending on the behaviour of chemicals in the environment, their mode of action and toxicity, as well as the nature of the receiving environment. Phase 1 concluded that: 1. a ‘weight of evidence’ approach was used and sensitivity to exposure to any given chemical assessed based on the reported levels of resultant mortality, as used for pressures such as ‘abrasion’, ‘penetration’ and ‘introduction of non-native species’; 2. sensitivity assessments were supported by a description of the relevant evidence on the method/route of exposure, and evidence from laboratory studies (e.g. LC/EC50s) and observational studies where available; 3. the chemical behaviour of the chemical included in our pressure groupings (‘hydrocarbons’, ‘synthetics’, ‘transitional metals’, and ‘others’) were recorded/examined to identify those unlikely impact benthic species (e.g. ‘evaporators’), and those likely to have physical (e.g. smothering, clogging) and/or chemical effects (e.g. toxicity); 4. sensitivity to physical and chemical effects were scored separately where needed, e.g. oil spills; 5. detailed Rapid Evidence Assessments (REAs) were used to record the details (meta-data) of the evidence used to support sensitivity assessment, the evidence summaries’, in a separate spreadsheet; 6. a meta-analysis to ‘rank’ marine benthic species or taxonomic groups by their responses to chemical contaminants should be investigated; and 7. the resultant dataset should be provided online as an additional resource to SNCBs. Phase 2 trialled the ‘weight of evidence’ approach and applied the standard REA methodology (Collins et al., 2015) using Mytilus spp. as the test species and a focus on ‘Hydrocarbons & PAHs’. Phase 3 completed the Mytilus spp. REAs for ‘Transitional Metals’ and ‘Synthetic compounds’ and included REAs for the ‘contaminant’ pressures in Zostera spp. and seagrasses. The results were as follows. 1. A list of chemical contaminants likely to occur in the marine environment was developed and attached to this report. 2. The existing pressure definitions for each of the contaminant pressures (‘hydrocarbons’, ‘synthetics’, ‘transitional metals’, and ‘others’) were revised. 3. A detailed REA protocol was developed and applied to the test species. 4. Detailed evidence for each of the contaminant pressures are provided in the relevant ‘evidence summary’ spreadsheets that accompany this report for both Mytilus spp. and Seagrasses. 5. Detail summaries of the relevant evidence on the effects of a range of contaminant types on both Mytilus spp. and Seagrasses were provided with the report. 6. The likely resistance, and hence sensitivity, of both Mytilus spp. and Seagrasses to the different contaminant types within each contaminant pressure were presented. The development of the approach, the use of the REA protocol, evidence summaries, and resultant sensitivity assessments are discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Additional Keywords: Evidence review, Contaminants, Rapid Evidence Assessment, blu mussel, Mytilus, Zostera, seagrass
Subjects: Conservation
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Marine Biological Association of the UK > Other (MBA)
Marine Biological Association of the UK > Data & Information
Depositing User: Dr Harvey Tyler-Walters
Date made live: 22 Jul 2022 13:24
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2024 17:03

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