MYTILOS Evaluation of Coastal Water Contamination Using
The useful role of "sentinel" organisms or "indicators"
for marine environment contaminant monitoring has been recognized for
several decades. Bioaccumulation is unaffected by the rapid fluctuations of
water masses, and facilitates analysis due to the higher concentrations of
chemical substances found in accumulating organisms. The monitoring of
chemical contamination levels and trends in Mediterranean Sea coastal
environments is sometimes, however, hindered by the absence of natural
mussel populations in certain areas of the basin.
the basis of data acquired on the French Mediterranean coast by Ifremer and
the Rhône Méditerranée & Corsica water board since 1996, via the RINBIO
MYTILOS project drew up a chemical contamination map on a Western
Mediterranean scale, using a standardized methodology. Between 2004 and
2006, various oceanographic campaigns were conducted on the continental
coasts of Spain, Italy and France, the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Sardinia,
Corsica and along the Maghreb coast. Around 120 days were spent at sea
deploying and retrieving 124 mussel cages.
Analyses focused on several contaminant types: heavy
metals, organochlorinated compounds (DDTs and metabolites, PCBs), and 16
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Complementary measurements were
performed on a small number of cages to assess levels of dioxins and
furanes, PBDEs, and nonyl and octyl phenols.
A large proportion of research was conducted in the
framework of the INTERREG III B / MEDOCC project, steered by Ifremer and
backed by Toulon Var Technologies (see
http://mytilos.tvt.fr/) in cooperation with the ICRAM (Italy), IEO (Spain),
PSTS (Sicily), IMEDEA (Balearic Islands), CSIC (Catalonia), the Agence
Catalane de lEau, INSTM (Tunisia), ISMAL (Algeria), INRH and University of
Agadir (Morocco). MYTILOS is also backed by the PNUE/PAM - MEDPOL and Agence
de lEau Rhône Méditerranée & Corse (Rhône Méditerranée & Corsica water
The most highly impacted areas were mainly urban and
industrial centres and the mouths of major rivers. Towards the open sea,
concentrations of organic compounds were shown to decrease faster than metal
concentrations in these areas. Measured concentrations in midsea (i.e.
around 1 km from the coast) were similar to concentrations in natural
shellfish populations living along the coast.
Example of results for PCBs (polychlorobiphenyls), click
MYTIMED Project Assessment of Chemical Contamination in
Western Mediterranean Coastal Waters
In the aim of extending the scope of MYTILOS in the
Western Mediterranean, IFREMER and Toulon Var Technologies received
joint-financing in 2006 in the framework of the INTERREG III B MEDOC project
MYTIMED, associating the ICRAM and PSTS (Italy), HCMR and ANEM (Greece),
INSTM (Tunisia), NCMS (Lebanon) and HIMR (Syria). This project is backed by
the PNUE/PAM MEDPOL. Various cruises took place in May and August 2007 to
acquire data from the coastal waters of these countries.
The data collected by MYTIMED and MYTILOS will be made
available via a website. This site will also provide access to automated
processing procedures (statistics) and data edition procedures (graphics,
classification, SIG links).
Completion of the Mediterranean Road Book is also
envisaged in conjunction with the PNUE/PAM - MEDPOL and CIESM, via two
complementary campaigns: the Adriatic (MYTIAD campaign in 2008) and the
southeastern Mediterranean: Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Libya (to be
defined in agreement with the relevant countries).
Contact : Bruno.Andral@ifremer.fr