Student Projects 2011

2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

Vincent Breslin

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. 

Participating Students:

CCMS             CCMS

Gene Wenkert                                                 Damian Grbyzko
Undergraduate Student                                                   Undergraduate Student
Marine and Environmental Studies                            Biology and Marine Studies

CCMS

Mary LaVallee
Undergraduate Student
Chemistry and Marine Studies    

 


 Vincent Breslin

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.

Participating Students:

CCMS

Gene Wenkert
Undergraduate Student
Marine and Environmental Studies