Science of The Total Environment
Vol. 573, 2016, Pages: 841–853
Temporal variation on environmental variables and pollution indicators in marine sediments under sea Salmon farming cages in protected and exposed zones in the Chilean inland Southern Sea
Mauricio A. Urbina
Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanográficas, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile.
The impacts of any activity on marine ecosystems will depend on the characteristics of the receptor medium and its resilience to external pressures. Salmon farming industry develops along a constant gradient of hydrodynamic conditions in the south of Chile. However, the influence of the hydrodynamic characteristics (weak or strong) on the impacts of intensive salmon farming is still poorly understood. This one year study evaluates the impacts of salmon farming on the marine sediments of both protected and exposed marine zones differing in their hydrodynamic characteristics. Six physico-chemical, five biological variables and seven indexes of marine sediments status were evaluated under the salmon farming cages and control sites. Our results identified a few key variables and indexes necessary to accurately evaluate the salmon farming impacts on both protected and exposed zones. Interestingly, the ranking of importance of the variables and the temporality of the observed changes, varied depending on the hydrodynamic characteristics. Biological variables (nematodes abundance) and environmental indexes (Simpson's dominance, Shannon's diversity and Pielou evenness) are the first to reflect detrimental impacts under the salmon farming cages. Then the physico-chemical variables such as redox, sulphurs and phosphorus in both zones also show detrimental impacts. Based on the present results we propose that the hydrodynamic regime is an important driver of the magnitude and temporality of the effects of salmon farming on marine sediments. The variables and indexes that best reflect the effects of salmon farming, in both protected and exposed zones, are also described.
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