Environmental Stressors in an Urban Estuary and the Effects of Sub-Lethal Hypoxia on Startle Behavior of White Grunt
Sánchez García, Mayra
Roberson Murillo, Loretta (Consejera)
This study was designed to assess the environmental stressors of the Condado Lagoon, a coastal lagoon within a large urban estuarine ecosystem, the San Jan Bay Estuary of Puerto Rico. Water quality parameters and the occurrence and persistence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were analyzed to determine the main stressors within the lagoon. The water quality parameters analyzed were temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity and bacteriological profile collected from the San Juan Bay Estuary Program monthly water quality monitoring database from 2011-2015. Water samples collected in the lagoon were screened for VOC’s using solid phase extraction coupled with GC/MS. The Puerto Rico Water Quality standard regulation (PRWQS, 2014) for coastal and estuarine water was used to determine the frequency of events of non-compliance. We found that dissolved oxygen was the most detrimental stressor for aquatic organisms in the lagoon. Additionally, VOC analysis from 2013-2015 established the presence of 74 unique compounds, with three found persistently in all samples (1-phenylethanone, hexadecane and naphthalene). Concentrations detected for target compounds were present at relatively low concentrations in water samples, with the exception of three compounds that exceeded PRWQS regulatory threshold in April 2014. These results could have implications for the long-term health and sustainability of the ecosystem.