CE34 - Contaminants, écosystèmes et santé

Plankton: biological pump of contaminants in marine ecosystems (CONTAMPUMP)? – CONTAMPUMP

CONTAMPUMP - Plankton: biological pump of contaminants in marine ecosystems?

Study of the mechanisms of accumulation of contaminants in marine organisms from the plankton at the base of their food webs.

Challenges and objectives of ANR CONTAMPUMP: a question of ecosystem health

The CONTAMPUMP project aims to understand the biological mechanisms of metallic and organic chemical contamination at the base of marine food webs in pelagic and benthic plankton and plankton consumers.<br />The objectives of the CONTAMPUMP project are to answer the following questions: (I) does the size of the organisms influence the level of contamination (bioaccumulation or biodilution)? (II) how does the trophic level influence the transfer of contaminants in the planktonic food web (biomagnification or biodiminution)? (III) does food selection influence the concentrations of contaminants in various planktivorous species? (IV) what is the temporal variation of the concentrations of contaminants compared to the composition of the plankton and the potential sources of contaminants (rivers, urban areas, WWTPs, ports, industries)? (V) are the plankton contamination patterns different between the contrasting areas? (VI) how is the transfer of contaminants from plankton to fishing resources (trophic modeling)?<br />The temporal and spatial availability of contaminants in plankton and the selectivity of prey by predators determine the transfer of contaminants up to the level of marine resources exploited and consumed.<br />The results of this project will provide a better understanding of the functioning and health of marine ecosystems.

The size and variability of the composition of certain selected biological targets requires the development of new approaches for sampling and measurement methods as well as close transdisciplinary work. Complementary approaches are used (identification of species, use of food flow tracers, analysis of stomach and biochemical contents, modeling).
The contamination of the different size fractions of plankton is measured in relation to their species composition and their load of detrital particles. The technical challenge of this project is to collect small plankton in large quantities (eg 15 million liters of water were filtered during the Hippocampus campaign - WP2) and to split it for the measurement of contaminants and biochemistry. This implies new methodological approaches (a new filtration system has been set up). The composition of planktonic species and the possible mixing with detrital particles are evaluated by methods of flow cytometry, optical measurement of zooplankton, taxonomy, C / N analysis and stable isotope analyzes.
The contaminants were selected from the priority substances of the DCE and MSFD lists: metallic trace elements, Hg, methyl-Hg, PAH, alkanes, PCB, pesticides. They will be analyzed on a selection of samples corresponding to particular events (floods, heavy rains, blooms, etc.) and key areas (urbanized bays, ports, offshore areas, etc.).

The sampling schedule (WP1) and analyzes have been postponed due to Covid-19. CONTAMPUMP (WP1) monthly sampling resumed in June 2020 and will continue until November 2021 (https://www.facebook.com/anr.contampump.5) in the bay of Marseille (somlit.fr). To date, 34 have been carried out out of the 43 planned sampling dates. The cytometry, taxonomy, isotopy and biochemistry and Hg analyzes are in progress and will continue in the fall and spring with analyzes of other contaminants (ETMs, PCBs, pesticides, PAHs, alkanes). The first analyzes carried out (WP2) show a strong bioconcentration of contaminants between the seawater and the first size classes of phytoplankton (ex: Hg 4.2 10^6 pico and 2.4 10^6 for the nanoplankton) at the base of the pelagic food webs in Mediterranean. These results were presented during the two scientific meetings of the project (June 30, 2020 and February 19, 2021), as well as during the MED2020 conference where discussions took place with managers (https://med2020.sciencesconf.org).
Communication with the general public was carried out during the IUCN Congress 3-11 September in Marseille. A popular article was published in July 2021 in the journal La Recherche (https://www.larecherche.fr/au-chevet-de-la-méditerranée).
The Ifremer monitoring network and the Water Agency were particularly interested in our results (video conference with journalists and the public on July 8, 2021).
Scientific presentations of the project were made to the CRPMEM PACA and to the AMCRE “Fisheries and Aquaculture” Commission of the Southern Region. The first results of the CONTAMPUMP project were discussed during the visit of the European Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius on September 3, 2021 at the CRPMEM PACA in Marseille.
www.facebook.com/anr.contampump. 5.

One of the aspects of the valuation will be to provide the bases to support the observation strategy and the implementation of the European MSFD. They will contribute to the management of short-term risks to consumers and to the long-term sustainable exploitation of marine resources. The new knowledge is made available to managers to help improve monitoring of the marine environment (Calanques National Park, Municipality of Marseille, South Region - AMCRE Commission, Aix-Marseille Provence Métropole, IFREMER, Water Agency, Fisheries National and Regional Committees).
The dissemination is also undertaken for the southern Mediterranean countries, in particular by scientists from IRD and Tunisia, associated with the HIPPOCAMPE campaign (WP2).

Valorisation of the first results (WP2) during the MED2020 congress: med2020.sciencesconf.org
Food selection of planktonophages (WP1) described in a scientific article: doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2021.102617.
Contamination by PCBs of the pelagic food web of the Bay of Marseille (WP1) described in a scientific article: doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c00904.
Three 3rd year undergraduate internship reports (Monmont Chloé, Morel Elina and Proriol Marie) 2-month internships (WP1); Two 6-month Master 2 internship reports (Tenaille Melissa and Grassi Baptiste) (WP1).
Communication / dissemination to the general public and communication with managers:
Presentation MIO space of CG13 - Sea during the IUCN congress in Marseille (September 3-11, 2021). uicn.fr/congres-mondial-de-la-nature-uicn-2020/

The aim of the CONTAMPUMP project proposed by a young team of researchers from the M.I.O. is to understand the biological mechanisms of the chemical, metallic and organic contamination at the base of marine food webs in plankton and in pelagic and benthic planktivores. Contaminants were selected from priority substances on the WFD and MSFD lists: trace metals, Hg, MMHg, PAHs, PCBs, pesticides. The project is organized in three thematic tasks: temporal WP1 (a temporal approach during 18 months in the urbanised Bay of Marseille (SOLEMIO station of the RNO SOMLIT network), spatial WP2 (a trans-Mediterranean north-south spatial approach in the western Mediterranean in targeted areas of scientific and economic interest, in connection with the Hippocampus campaign), and WP3 modelling (modelling the transfer of contaminants in the ecosystem of the Gulf of Lions from plankton to consumed ressources, using EwE Ecotracer module with a new software developed for multi-contaminant analyses).
The aims of CONTAMPUMP are to answer the following questions: (I) does organism size influence the levels of contamination (bioaccumulation or biodilution)? (II) how does the trophic level influence the contaminant transfer in the planktonic food web (biomagnification or biodiminution)? (III) does food selection influence contaminant concentrations in various planktivorous species? (IV) what is the temporal variation of contaminant concentrations in relation to the plankton composition and the potential sources of contaminants (rivers, urban areas, STEP, port, industries)? (V) are the patterns of contamination of plankton different between contrasted areas? (VI) how does the transfer of contaminants occur from plankton to the fishery resources (trophic modelling)?
The size and the variability of the composition of some biological targets require the development of new approaches for sampling and measurement methods, as well as close transdisciplinary work. The complementary skills in chemistry, biochemistry, biology and ecology of the young team will generate links and a scientific dynamic within the M.I.O. and enable answers to be found to these questions of major interest for the sustainable management of Mediterranean ecosystems.

Project coordinator

Madame Daniela BANARU (UNIVERSITE d'AIX-MARSEILLE-Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanologie)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


AMU-MIO UNIVERSITE d'AIX-MARSEILLE-Institut Méditerranéen d’Océanologie

Help of the ANR 321,969 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2019 - 36 Months

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