A biomarker of contaminant exposure is effective in large scale assessment of ten estuaries

Katelyn J. Edge, Katherine Dafforn, Stuart L. Simpson, Anthony C. Roach, Emma L. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Cost-effective and sensitive measures of anthropogenic stress are necessary tools in any environmental monitoring program. When implementing new monitoring tools in a region, rigorous laboratory and field studies are essential for characterizing the sensitivity and efficacy of the approach. We exposed the oyster Saccostrea glomerata to various individual contaminants through multiple exposure pathways (water- and food-borne) in the laboratory and measured two biomarker responses, lysosomal membrane stability (LMS) and lipid peroxidation (LPO). LMS was sensitive to both contaminant exposure pathways. We subsequently measured this biomarker in oysters which had been experimentally deployed at multiple sites in each of ten estuaries with varying levels of contamination associated with re-suspended sediments. There was a strong association between LMS and metal exposure, despite substantial natural variation in water quality parameters. Our results illustrate the potential use of LMS as a pragmatic indicator of biotic injury in environmental monitoring programs for re-suspended contaminated sediments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • bivalves
  • contaminants
  • lysosomal membrane stability
  • environmental monitoring
  • re-suspended sediments


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