High pollutant levels in Guánica Bay ‘represent serious toxic threat’ to corals
The pollutants measured in the sediments of Guánica Bay, Puerto Rico, in a new NOAA study were among the highest concentrations of PCBs, chlordane, chromium and nickel ever measured in the history of NOAA’s National Status & Trends, a nationwide contaminant monitoring program that began in 1986.
Researchers from the National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) studied the reef’s ecology to help establish baseline conditions that coastal managers can use to measure changes resulting from new efforts to manage pollution. Among the items studied were habitat types, coral cover, fish and pollution stressors such as nutrients, sedimentation, toxic contaminants in Guánica Bay.
“These concentrations of pollutants represent serious toxic threats to corals, fish and benthic fauna — bottom dwelling animal life and plants,” said David Whitall, Ph.D., the report’s principal investigator and NOAA ecologist.
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