Mussels as Bioindicators: A Case Study of Tributyltin Effects in San Diego Bay.
SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY LA JOLLA CA
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As part of a Navy research program to evaluate the environmental effects of tributyltin TBT antifouling coatings and develop in-situ field bioindicators, native juvenile mussels were transplanted in San Diego Bay between 1987-1990. Serial seasonal transplants and intensive chemical sampling have documented temporal and spatial variability in TBT and the effects of TBT on growth, bioaccumulation and survival that have not been previously reported. Establishing this variability and identifying site-specific factors affecting juvenile mussel growth. This represents the initial calibration of the mussel bioidicator for assessing TBT effects in San Diego Bay and establishes a significant refinement in the use of mussels as biological indicators. Based on the data presented here, questions have been raised regarding the environmental significance of the data and monitoring strategies that may be applicable to all bioindicator responses and monitoring programs.