, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 996–1011 | Cite as

Integrated ecotoxicological assessment of marine sediments affected by land-based marine fish farm effluents: physicochemical, acute toxicity and benthic community analyses

  • C. Silva
  • E. Yáñez
  • M. L. Martín-Díaz
  • I. Riba
  • T. A. DelValls


An integrated ecotoxicological assessment of marine sediments affected by land-based marine fish farm effluents was developed using physicochemical and benthic community structure analyses and standardised laboratory bioassays with bacteria (Vibrio fischeri), amphipods (Ampelisca brevicornis) and sea urchin larvae (Paracentrotus lividus). Intertidal sediment samples were collected at five sites of the Rio San Pedro (RSP) creek, from the aquaculture effluent to a clean site. The effective concentration (EC50) from bacterial bioluminescence and A. brevicornis survival on whole sediments and P. lividus larval developmental success on sediment elutriates were assessed. Numbers of species, abundance and Shannon diversity were the biodiversity indicators measured in benthic fauna of sediment samples. In parallel, redox potential, pH, organic matter and metal levels (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) in the sediment and dissolved oxygen in the interstitial water were measured in situ. Water and sediment physicochemical analysis revealed the exhibition of a spatial gradient in the RSP, evidenced by hypoxia/anoxia, reduced and acidic conditions, high organic enrichment and metal concentrations at the most contaminated sites. Whereas, the benthic fauna biodiversity decreased the bioassays depicted decreases in EC50, A. brevicornis survival, P. lividus larval success at sampling sites closer to the studied fish farms. This study demonstrates that the sediments polluted by fish farm effluents may lead to alterations of the biodiversity of the exposed organisms.


Sediment organic enrichment Microtox Amphipod survival Sea urchin larval development Benthic fauna Aquaculture effluents 



C. Silva is grateful to the Sistema Bicentenario BECAS CHILE from the Chilean Government and the international grant from Bank Santander/UNESCO Chair UNITWIN/WiCop for funding this work. The work described was also supported partially by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CTM2011-28437-C02-02). The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Silva
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • E. Yáñez
    • 3
  • M. L. Martín-Díaz
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. Riba
    • 1
  • T. A. DelValls
    • 1
  1. 1.UNITWIN/UNESCO/WiCoP, Physical Chemical Department, Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar (CEIMAR)University of CádizCádizSpain
  2. 2.Andalusian Center of Marine Science and Technology (CACYTMAR), CEIMARUniversity of CádizCádizSpain
  3. 3.School of Marine SciencePontificia Universidad Católica de ValparaísoValparaísoChile

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