Effects of exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons upon the metabolism of the common sole Solea solea

Type Article
Date 2007-07
Language English
Author(s) Davoodi Fariba1, 3, Claireaux Guy2, 3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Stn Mediterraneenne Environm Littoral, Inst Sci Evolut Montpellier, F-34200 Sete, France.
2 : CNRS, IFREMER, ULR, Ctr Rech Ecosyst Littoraux Anthropises, F-17137 Lhoumeau, France.
Source Marine Pollution Bulletin (0025-326X) (Elsevier), 2007-07 , Vol. 54 , N. 7 , P. 928-934
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2007.03.004
WOS© Times Cited 47
Keyword(s) Solea solea, Environmental adaptation, Metabolism, Fuel exposure, Erika oil spill
Abstract On December 12th, 1999, the oil tanker Erika sank off the southern coast of Brittany (France), releasing 20 000–30 000 tons of heavy oil in the open sea. Among the affected coastal habitats were important nurseries for numerous flatfish species and particularly for the common sole, Solea solea. To investigate the potential impact of the spill on this economically significant resource, we employed Fry's concept of metabolic scope for activity to assess the deleterious effect of fuel exposure on the functional integrity of juvenile sole. Fish were captured from uncontaminated areas and experimentally exposed to contamination conditions mimicking those encountered during the weeks that followed the Erika spill. Using respirometry techniques we measured basal and active metabolic rates, and calculated aerobic metabolic scope, in control and fuel-exposed sole. We then compared the ability of control and fuel-exposed sole to face an episode of reduced oxygen availability. We found that whereas basal metabolic rate was not altered in fuel-exposed fish, active metabolic rate (−27%), and therefore aerobic metabolic scope, were impacted. These changes in metabolic scope were viewed as indicating changes in fishes' ability to face environmental contingencies. Finally the ability of sole to face an episode of reduced oxygen availability was found to be significantly altered following fuel exposure as indicated by a 65% increase in the critical oxygen level. It is concluded that fuel-exposed sole are functionally impaired and less able to face environmental challenges. The link between these results and the recently reported fall in the abundance of the year class that suffered the Erika oil spill is discussed.

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