Simulated coal spill causes mortality and growth inhibition in tropical marine organisms

Berry, Kathryn L.E., Hoogenboom, Mia O., Flores, Florita, and Negri, Andrew P. (2016) Simulated coal spill causes mortality and growth inhibition in tropical marine organisms. Scientific Reports, 6. pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

Coal is a principal fossil fuel driving economic and social development, and increases in global coal shipments have paralleled expansion of the industry. To identify the potential harm associated with chronic marine coal contamination, three taxa abundant in tropical marine ecosystems (the coral Acropora tenuis, the reef fish Acanthochromis polyacanthus and the seagrass Halodule uninervis) were exposed to five concentrations (0–275 mg coal l−1) of suspended coal dust (<63 μm) over 28 d. Results demonstrate that chronic coal exposure can cause considerable lethal effects on corals, and reductions in seagrass and fish growth rates. Coral survivorship and seagrass growth rates were inversely related to increasing coal concentrations (≥38 mg coal l−1) and effects increased between 14 and 28 d, whereas fish growth rates were similarly depressed at all coal concentrations tested. This investigation provides novel insights into direct coal impacts on key tropical taxa for application in the assessment of risks posed by increasing coal shipments in globally threatened marine ecosystems.

Item ID: 47791
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: ecology, environmental impact
Additional Information:

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ISSN: 2045-2322
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), AIMS@JCU, The Nature Conservancy, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2017 23:42
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 70%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses) @ 10%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 30%
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