Marine macrobenthic communities associated to Peruvian scallop Argopecten purpuratus culture: structural and functional diversity, feeding ecology and contaminant exposure

In Progress: December 2015 -

The overall aim of this research study is to evaluate the different responses of macrobenthic communities from the Sechura Bay (SB) – Piura Region (Peru) to anthropogenic activities and/or natural phenomenon (i.e. El Niño Southern Oscillation - ENSO). SB has been impacted for industrial and economical activities in the recent years, activities such the intensive Peruvian scallop Argopecten purpuratus culture (exportations of about 150 US$ per year) and mining has been increased in this Region. This scenario contributes that BS is currently with the “Health Risk Assessment in Production Areas of Bivalve Mollusks” from the Regional Government, this because high concentrations of pollutants have been found in some locations of SB. Metals are pollutants that are only semi-annually evaluated in SB, and from those few measurements, some has been exceed the limits, standards and reference values, either for water, sediment and organisms. Therefore, this research will apply an integrated approach based on field data collected in SB, specifically macrobenthic communities, seston and sediments using stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N), fatty acids and metals in two locations along the BS, and one in the Reserved Illescas Zone during the years 2016 (ENSO) - 2017 (post ENSO). As a result, this project will provide first insights into the integration of different variables for the environmental quality assessment of SB, and its possible applicability in other aquatic ecosystems along the coast of Peru.