Coastal aquatic environments can be impacted due to different anthropogenic activities. As consequence, organisms inhabiting these areas are frequently exposed to a mixture of hazardous chemical substances. Recently, studies in South-American coastal zones showed that limpets collected in environments with different degrees of contamination presented shells with morphological alterations, which indicates that these alterations can be potentially used as biomarkers of contamination. However, few experimental and temporal studies have been undertaken so far in order to globally validate this tool in monitoring studies. This project proposal intends to investigate the relationship between morphological and structural parameters from Lottia subrugosa shells and biochemical responses in soft tissues of these organisms under experimental and temporal contamination scenarios. In the experimental study, organisms from unpolluted sites will be transplanted in highly contaminated areas previously identified in the littoral of São Paulo (Brazil). The temporal assessment will compare shells deposited in zoological collections and shells from organisms that will be collected for this project. The results from this study will allow the validation of these tools as biomarkers of environmental contamination for coastal zones. Additionally, considering that protein in shells can be preserved for up to a million years, the temporal approach might assist in temporal reconstruction of environmental toxicity. Finally, the implementation of this proposal will allow the establishment of a doctor recently degreed at Southern Cross University (Australia) with expertise in ecotoxicology field in an institution in the State of São Paulo.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: