CIBM’s chemical analysis on the marbled crab

The IMPACT project studies the effects of the port areas on the marine protected areas. Its goal is to provide supporting tools at a transboundary level, for the sustainable management and protection of the marine ecosystems, in harmony with the development of the ports.

CIBM, Centro Interuniversitario di Biologia Marina ed Ecologia Applicata “G. Bacci” in Leghorn, is one of the partner of the IMPACT project. Its task is to gather information on the state of health of the ecosystems next to the ports, focusing on Leghorn industrial port and Meloria Shoal.

Estimation are led through chemical and biological analysis of water and sediment (where it is also studied the bacterial component), and through indicator organisms, like the marbled crab (Pachygrapsus marmoratus).

The article “Effects of copper on larvae of the marbled crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus (Decapoda, Grapsidae): Toxicity test and biochemical marker responses” was published last October by many authors, including CIBM researchers.

The paper shows the results obtained after a set of samples taken from Leghorn port area between June and August 2018.

The study evaluated the sensitivity of the larvae of the marbled crab to copper – one of the contaminants more present in port areas – which is mainly released by vessel antifouling covers. Results registred in the marine protected area indicate a measurable effect of copper on larvae of the marbled crab – both in terms of mortality and metabolic responses – at similar concentrations to those in the water of the industrial ports.

This information, together with other partners’ surveys, will be useful to define potential ecological risk for the marine protected areas, arising from the activities of port development.