Ecotoxicological effects of a semi-submerged municipal dump (Castle harbour, Bermuda) on the Calico scallop Argopecten gibbus

Brian Quinn, Francois Gagné, Jean-Philippe Weber, Christian Blaise

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30 Citations (Scopus)


A biomarker study was undertaken using the Calico scallop Argopecten gibbus to assess the ecotoxicological effects of a semi-submerged municipal dump on the adjacent patch reef lagoon ecosystem (Castle harbour, Bermuda). Caged scallops were deployed in situ for 2 months at various distances from the dump (50 m, 900 m and 2.7 km) and at a reference site (14 km). A suite of biomarkers comprising metallothionein (MT), lipid peroxidation (LPO), vitellin-like proteins (Vn), glutathione S-transferase (GST), DNA strand breaks and condition factor (CF) were investigated in various tissues of the scallop (gill, digestive gland and gonad). Levels of heavy metals were also measured in the whole scallop soft tissue. While there was some variation in response between tissues, in general the results indicated that the dump was negatively impacting scallops deployed in the adjacent marine environment: elevated levels of MT, DNA strand breaks, Vn and GST and reduced condition factor were found for scallops deployed nearest to the dump and at the site 1.5 km from this point source of contamination (Tuckers town) in Castle harbour, with respect to the reference site, North Rock (although this exhibited some degree of metal contamination). The gills from scallops deployed at the dump site were the most responsive tissue, with the highest expression of MT, LPO and DNA damage. This study indicates the potential of the Calico scallop as a convenient bioindicator species in the marine tropical benthos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-544
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number5-7
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


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