Student Projects 2011
Project Title: Depuration of Oyster Tissue Metals Following Relay from Restricted Beds
The CT Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture (DABA) has identified the area adjacent to the Manresa Island power plant in Norwalk harbor as a priority area for potential expansion of shellfish production. The area near the Manresa Island power plant is a very active seed oystering area and oysters are currently relayed from this site to Approved leased beds surrounding the Norwalk Islands. The relay process is effective in reducing pathogens in the oysters. However, DABA has expressed concern over possible sediment metal contamination in the area surrounding Manresa Island, the location of an oil-fired electricity power plant owned by NRG Energy Inc. Oil-fired power plants are known to be significant sources of contaminant metals to coastal harbors and previous studies of Norwalk harbor sediment show elevated levels of Cu and Zn in the sediment. In contrast, the sediment environment surrounding the Norwalk Islands in Approved beds are composed of fine to coarse sand with correspondingly low contaminant metal concentrations. Prior to the successful utilization of the Restricted oyster beds adjacent to the Manresa Power plant a thorough examination of the sediment environments and oyster tissue metal concentrations of both the Restricted and Approved oyster beds is required.
Gene Wenkert Damian Grbyzko
Undergraduate Student Undergraduate Student
Marine and Environmental Studies Biology and Marine Studies
Chemistry and Marine Studies
Project Title: Mercury Accumulation in Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) in Long Island Sound
Bluefish are a schooling, migratory pelagic species common in Long Island Sound. Bluefish were the third most frequently caught species in Connecticut coastal waters in 2008 and represent an important recreational fishery. Bluefish are apex predators and bioaccumulate mercury through dietary transfer through the food chain. Mercury is a neurotoxin and is passed to humans primarily via consumption of fish. I propose a study to measure tissue mercury concentrations in juvenile and adult bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) in Long Island Sound. As a recreational fisherman and consumer of LIS bluefish, I am concerned with the seasonal and long-term trends in tissue mercury concentrations and their associated human health impacts. The goal of this study will be to determine the current concentrations of mercury in LIS bluefish and test the following hypotheses: (1) LIS bluefish tissue mercury concentrations will positively correlate with weight, age and length and (2) LIS bluefish tissue mercury concentrations will be less than mercury tissue contents measured in previous studies. Knowledge of bluefish tissue mercury contents, and its relationship with length and weight, is essential for establishing effective fish consumption advisories and protecting human health.
Marine and Environmental Studies