The main objective of this coordinated project is to perform an integrated assessment of the effects of the Prestige’s oil spill comprising toxicological, ecological, productive and socio-economical aspects (PREStige, Toxicological, Ecological, Productive and Socio-Economical aspects, acronym PRESTEPSE). Therefore, we intend to carry out a multidisciplinary project with especial emphasis on the integration of results obtained in the different fields. For this purpose 6 research groups participate in the project, each of them with previous demonstrable experience in the field of the assessment of the biological effects of pollution on marine and estuarine ecosystems and on fisheries resources.
1.The group UPV-BCTA is in charge of the coordination of the project as a whole and will be involved in the toxicological assessment of the impact of the fuel oil on littoral sentinel species (mussels and limpets) and on two fish species constituting important fisheries resources such as the anchovy (pelagic) and the hake (demersal) using early warning biomarkers of exposure and effects of the fuel oil, and powerful tools such as genomics and proteomics.
2.The group at INIA will perform the toxicological evaluation of the impact of the fuel oil using bioassays of sublethal toxicity and of mutagenicity with water samples collected at the same locations than those used for collection of littoral sentinel species. They will also be involved in modelling of relationships between pollutant concentrations and toxicity, in collaboration with participants of UPV-BCTA, and will develop predictive bioaccumulation models to be compared with the field results obtained by the UPV-QAA group.
3.The group UPV-Benthos will carry out a series of pilot studies assessing the impact of the fuel oil on the biodiversity of the coastal benthic system through the characterization of key communities and their alterations along an espatio-temporal monitoring.
4.The group UPV-QAA will perform an espatio-temporal monitoring of hydrocarbon concentrations in sentinel molluscs and in the liver of anchovy and hake, together with a pilot research on bioaccumulation and biomagnification processes taking place through the trophic chain in selected benthic communities in combination with the group UPV-Benthos.
5.The group of Fisheries Resources of AZTI will focus on the assessment of the influence of the spilled fuel oil on the fisheries of anchovy and hake, including design of sampling campaigns, hydrocarbon analysis in muscle of anchovy and hake, prevalence of histopathologic lesions in fish populations, and effects on reproduction, fecundity and species abundance. The integration of the different kinds of biological data plus the chemical data, together with the characterization of other complementary biotic and abiotic variables, will allow developing modelling studies of the relationship between pollutant concentrations and toxicity at short-, intermediate- and long-terms. In addition, all the results obtained will be structured as a database that will be subjected to a joint statistical analysis and will serve as a basis for the research on the socio-economical impact.
6.The group UPV-ERP in collaboration with AZTI will investigate the socio-economical impact of the Prestige’s oil spill focusing on the assessment of losses in the fish-extraction, commercial and transformation sectors. The evaluation of the losses will be focused in income and employment levels as well as in other socioeconomic variables of interest for the whole sea-industry complex. Hake and anchovy markets will also be analyzed to evaluate possible commercial effects on them since induced changes in the composition and structure of the demand and supply can occur reinforcing the drop in income. Finally, as partial results from other subprojects are obtained, the results/variables that show more negative impacts in the short, medium and long term on the growth of hake and anchovy populations, their abundance and productivity will be selected and integrated in the analysis.