Understanding POPs and emerging contaminants dynamics in the open Mediterranean Sea
The marine environment is subjected to contamination by a wide spectrum of pollutants mainly due to anthropogenic activities. Among these chemicals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have gained a lot of attention in the last decades due to their ubiquity in many environmental compartments, and their adverse health effects in biota and humans.
The Mediterranean Sea is an almost completely enclosed environment with a limited natural water exchanges. It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km2 and it has only one connection to the Atlantic Ocean (the strait of Gibraltar) that is only ~14 km wide. The rapid increase of human activities in the Mediterranean Sea area, particularly in the fields of industrialization and urbanization, together with agricultural activities and the seasonal increase in the coastal population due to tourism is a threat to the environment and biodiversity in the area (UNEP/MAP, 1996). Very limited information is available on POPs ambient levels and behavior far from the coast (open seas).
Two sampling campaigns (1 month each) across the Mediterranean sea were performed on board Oceanographic Vessel B/O Garcia del Cid (CSIC) within the framework of the IP Thresholds of Environmental Sustainability. The first campaign (2006) was Barcelona-Istanbul-Black Sea-Barcelona, whereas the second one (2007) was more focused on the Eastern and South-eastern Mediterranean arc (Barcelona-Alexandria-Barcelona). These campaigns were performed in collaboration with CSIC (IMEDEA and IDAEA institutes). See itinerary details.
Atmospheric, water and biota samples were collected during both campaigns. The general objective was to study the current pollution status of the Mediterranean Sea by POPs and their behavior and processes at open sea. Key aspects such as the role of phytoplankton, zooplankton and bacteria in the day-night variability of POP (POPs cycling), the air-water exchanges and the sink/source character of the Mediterranean waters for organic pollutants were studied. Moreover, data on spatial-temporal distribution on open seas for some families of POPs (e.g PCDD/Fs) has been obtained for the first time. PCBs, PAHs, and OCPs have been also studied. In addition, new flame retardants and plasticizers like organophosphorus esters (OPE) have been measured for the first time in this marine environment proving their overall occurrence. All generated data will be very valuable for the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), adopted in June 2008 (2008/56/EC). This directive is aimed to protect the marine environment across Europe and to achieve good environmental status of the EU’s marine waters (implying among other things that concentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effects). Data can also provide an important contribution to the big Mediterranean initiatives dealing with marine pollution and preservation of the Seas such as the EU PERSEUS projet and the MISTRALS-MERMEX program.
Most relevant scientific output:
Mesquita S.R., Dachs J., van Drooge B., Castro-Jiménez J., Navarro-Martín L., Barata C., Vieira N., Guimaraes L., Piña B. (2016) Toxicity assessment of atmopsheric particle matter in the Mediterranean and Black Seas open waters. Science of the Total Environment, 545-546, 163-170
Castro-Jiménez J., Berrojalbiz N., Pizarro M., Dachs J. (2014) Organophosphate ester (OPE) flame retardants and plasticizers in the open Mediterranean and Black Seas Atmosphere. Environmental Scicence and Technology, 48, 3203-3209
N. Berrojalbiz, J. Castro-Jiménez, G. Mariani, J. Wollgast, G. Hanke, J. Dachs (2014) Atmospheric occurrence, transport and deposition of polychlorinated biphenyls and hexachlorobenzene in the Mediterranean and Black seas. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 14, 8947-8959.
Javier Castro-Jiménez, Naiara Berrojalbiz, Jan Wollgast, Jordi Dachs (2012) Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Mediterranean Sea: atmospheric occurrence, deposition and decoupling with settling fluxes in the water column. Environmental Pollution 166, 40-47.
Naiara Berrojalbiz, Jordi Dachs, María José Ojeda, María Carmen Valle, Javier Castro-Jiménez, Jan Wollgast, Michela Ghiani, Georg Hanke, and Jose Manuel Zaldivar (2011) Biogeochemical and physical controls on concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in water and plankton of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 25, GB4003.
Naiara Berrojalbiz, Jordi Dachs, María José Ojeda, María Carmen Valle, Sabino DelVento, Javier Castro-Jiménez, Giulio Mariani, Jan Wollgast, and Georg Hanke (2011) Persistent organic pollutants in Mediterranean seawater and processes affecting their accumulation in plankton. Environmental Science and Technology 45, 4315-4322
J. Castro-Jiménez, S.J. Eisenreich; M. Ghiani, G. Mariani, H. Skejo, G. Umlauf, J. Wollgast, J.M. Zaldívar, N. Berrojalbiz, J. Dachs, H.I. Reuter . (2010) Atmospheric occurrence and deposition of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in the open Mediterranean Sea. Environmental Science and Technology 44, 5456-5463.
Communications at conferences / scientific meetings
J. Castro Jiménez, N. Berrojalbiz, and J. Dachs. Atmospheric levels of organophosphate esters (OPEs) flame retardants across the Mediterranean Sea and in the Black Sea. 40th Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM) Congress. Marseille, OCtober 2013.Oral
J. Castro Jiménez, N. Berrojalbiz, and J. Dachs. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in open sea surface waters and atmosphere across the Mediterranean Sea and in the Black Sea. 40th Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM) Congress. Marseille, OCtober 2013.Oral
J. Castro-Jiménez, G. Mariani, G. Umlauf, J. Wollgast, N. Berrojalbiz, J. Dachs. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) atmospheric concentrations and deposition over the open Mediterranean and Black Seas. SETAC Europe 21th Annual Meeting. Milan, May 2011. Oral.
J. Castro-Jiménez, S.J Eisenreich, G. Mariani, H. Skejo, G. Umlauf, J. Wollgast, J.M. Zaldívar, N. Berrojalbiz, J. Dachs, H.I. Reuter. Atmospheric occurrence and deposition of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in the open Mediterranean and Black Seas. SETAC Europe 20th Annual Meeting. Seville, May 2010. Oral.
Naiara Berrojalbiz, Maria Jose Ojeda, Mari Carmen Valle, Jordi Dachs, Javier Castro-Jiménez, J. Wollgast, M. Ghiani and Jose Manuel Zaldivar Comenges. Physical and trophic controls on occurrence, fluxes and bioaccumulation of PCBs and PAHs in the Mediterranean Sea. SETAC Europe 19h Annual Meeting. Goteborg, May-June 2009. Poster.
J. Castro-Jiménez, M. Ghiani, G. Mariani, H. Skejo, G. Umlauf, and J. Wollgast. PCDD/Fs ambient air concentrations, congener patterns and spatial distribution along the Mediterranean Sea. SETAC Europe 18th Annual Meeting. Warsaw, May 2008. Oral.
J. Castro-Jiménez, M. Ghiani, G. Hanke, G. Mariani, H. Skejo, G. Umlauf, J. Wollgast, N. Berrojalbiz, M. Carmen Valle, S. Lacorte, and J. Dachs. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the Mediterranean Sea Atmosphere and Seawater. 14th International Symposium on Environmental Pollution and its Impact on Life in the Mediterranean Region. Sevilla, October 2007. Poster.