Internal funding Projects

Theme area: Impacts of fish farming

Heavy metals are bioaccumulative and become toxic when concentrations exceed a certain limit. The identification and determination of metal concentrations in sediments and in fish tissues of cultured and wild fish, as well as in benthic organisms it is important in assessing the impact of aquaculture on the environment. The information derived from such an analysis is particularly useful for risk assessment analysis and it is an important component of the process environmental impact assessments.

Heavy metals were investigated in twenty-nine demersal marine fish species collected by trawl from the Thermaikos Gulf.  Metal concentrations were analyzed in the muscle, gills, liver, skin and scales.  Metals accumulated mostly in the gills, followed by the liver and finally the muscle.  Patterns of biomagnification were evident in this demersal food web for some species and metals.  Concentrations of some metals in the edible portion of the fish exceeded limits provided by food safety authorities.  The presence of contaminants in the sediment and water of the gulf of the Thermaikos could be potential contributors to the accumulation of metals in fish species.  The degree to which accumulation occurs is dependent on fish swimming activity, feeding behaviour, physiology, and water quality. 

The aim of the study is to evaluate the spatial distribution and the severity of the benthic effects of tuna farming in the ultra-oligotrophic eastern Mediterranean (Cyprus) and to compare it with the impact studies of other farmed fish.

Theme area: Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

The project will compile a very large amount of benthic macrofaunal data obtained in the framework of various national and European research projects during the past 20 years. These data reflect a wide range of ecological quality conditions from normal to heavily polluted from various anthropogenic activities. The analysis of these data will allow the characterization of Mediterranean benthic species, as well as higher taxa (genus, family etc) in terms of their sensitivity-tolerance to extreme ecological status. This information will allow the formulation of simple indicators of ecological quality requiring less time and taxonomic expertise thereby reducing the cost needed to implement the monitoring for the European Water Framework Directive.