Using sentinel species as biomonitors can indicate the potential effects urban runoff and its associated toxins have on coastal ecosystems. In southern California, current methods to indicate the sources and movement of pollutants, and their subsequent accumulation into ecological food webs are generally lacking. I hypothesized that kelp sieve tube sap (STS) could be used as a biomonitor for metal pollution. Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) sequesters trace metals into STS from its surrounding environment often magnifying the concentration present in ambient seawater. I collected STS from M. pyrifera fronds sampled monthly for one year from 10 coastal southern California locations, including 2 presumed "non-polluted" reference sites off Santa Catalina Island. Using ICP-MS methodology, STS concentrations of 19 different metals were measured. For most pollutant-associated metals, the highest STS values and most seasonal variation were measured from populations inside the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor. Lowest metal values (and least seasonal variation) were measured at less-impacted areas: Santa Catalina Island and Malibu. For some metals (Zn, Sr, Mn, Ni, and Pb), I found a spatial gradient in metal concentration with increasing distance from various point sources of effluent, suggesting that kelp STS could be used to show the spatial extent of urban impact on the coastal ecosystem. Results from this thesis suggest that this innovative method may (1) be useful in describing metal pollution and (2) provide opportunities to further consider the ecological effects of such contaminants accumulating within this habitat-forming species.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 48/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Ecology, Plant biology|
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