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Title: Effects of pollution on rocky shore communities on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales
Author: Jones, Gemma Louise
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2002
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Bioindicator organisms and assemblages were used to monitor the levels and effects of pollution, and assess the conservation value of sites in Swansea Bay and the adjacent Gower Peninsula. Swansea Bay has a long history of effluent input to the marine environment from domestic and industrial sources. A major short sea outfall located at Mumbles Head (west of Swansea Bay) discharged partially treated sewage effluent near to adjacent limestone shores from the 1930s to February 1999. Closure of this outfall provided a good opportunity to study the effects of sewage pollution on shore ecology. Rocky shore community structure was monitored monthly from January 1998 to June 2000, and kelp holdfast community structure was monitored seasonally from winter 1997/1998 to spring 2000 (excluding summer periods) at both Mumbles Head and Oxwich point, on the relatively unpolluted south Gower coast. Significant spatial and temporal variability in community structure was identified, potentially attributable to pollution, as well as natural abiotic and biotic factors such as high turbidity levels, episodic storm events, mass settlement and invasions of keystone species, each within the potential to mask any pollution effects. Significant spatial and temporal variability was also identified in the Body Condition Index (BCI) calculated for Mytilus edulis collected monthly from November 1997 to July 2000 at Mumbles Head and Oxwich Point. The mean BCI was higher at Mumbles Head than at Oxwich Point. This could be a result of differences in food supply resulting form riverine, domestic and industrial discharges. Closure of the sewage outfall at Mumbles Head did not have a discernable effect on the mean BCI. Fucus serratus and Mytilus edulis were used as bioindicators of heavy metal contamination at sites in Swansea Bay and on the Gower Peninsula. Higher concentrations were recorded at sites in Swansea Bay as opposed to those located on the Gower Peninsula. Heavy metal concentrations reported in this study at Swansea Bay were generally lower than values reported in the 1970s and 1980s (with the exception of Cu and Zn in Fucus serratus), reflecting reductions in metal discharges from the rehabilitated River Tawe catchment. Closure of the sewage outfall at Mumbles Head did not have a discernable effect on metal concentrations in Fucus serratus or Mytilus edulis at any of the sites investigated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available