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Field evaluation of a suite of biomarkers in an Australian Tropical Reef Species, Stripey Seaperch (Lutjanus carponotatus) : Assessment of Produced Formation water from the Harriet A Platform
chapterposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by S Codi King, C Conwell, M Haasch, Julie MondonJulie Mondon, J Mueller, S Zhu, L Howitt
There is paucity of data regarding hydrocarbon exposure of tropical fish species inhabiting the waters near oil and gas platforms on the Northwest Shelf of Australia. A comprehensive field study assessed the exposure and potential effects associated with the produced water (PW) plume from the Harriet A production platform on the northwest shelf in a local reef species, Stripey seaperch (Lutjanus carponotatus). This field study was a continuation of an earlier pilot study which concluded that there were “warning signs” of potential biological effects on fish populations exposed to PW. A 10-day field caging study was conducted deploying 15 individual fish into 6 separate steel cages set 1-m subsurface at 3 stations in a concentration gradient moving away from the platform. A battery of biomarkers were evaluated including hepatosomatic index (HSI), total cytochrome P450, bile metabolites, CYP1A-, CYP2K- and CYP2M-like proteins, cholinesterase (ChE) activity, and histopathology of liver and gill tissues. Water column and PW effluent samples was also collected. Results confirmed that PAH metabolites in bile, CYP1A-, CYP2K-, and CYP2M-like proteins and liver histopathology provided evidence of significant exposure and effects after 10 days at the near-field site (~200 m off the Harriet A platform). Hepatosomatic index, total cytochrome P450, and ChE did not provide site-specific differences by day 10 of exposure to PW. CYP proteins were shown by principal component analysis (PCA) to be the best diagnostic tool for determining exposure and associated biological effects of PW on L. carponotatus. Using a suite of biomarkers has been widely advocated as a vital component in environmental risk assessments worldwide. This study demonstrates the usefulness of biomarkers for assessing the Harriet A PW discharge into Australian waters with broader applications for other PW discharges. This approach has merit as a valuable addition to environmental management strategies for protecting Australia’s tropical environment and its rich biodiversity.