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Genotoxicants in Retention Ponds and Adjacent Estuaries in Urban/Suburban Sites in Coastal Georgia

PI: Richard F. Lee (Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Savannah, GA, USA)

Support: GA DNR Coastal Zone Management (through a Coastal Incentive Grant)

Timeframe: 2001 - ongoing

Project Overview:
     This 3-year project will characterize the genotoxic contaminants in retention ponds and adjacent estuaries in several coastal Georgia counties and determine the biological effects of these contaminants. Two hypotheses form the basis of these studies: (1) contaminant levels in retention ponds associated with (sub)urban areas over time, varies with the types of development near the ponds and is influenced by the extent of vegetation in the ponds; (2) a portion of the contaminants are released from retention ponds and enter adjacent shallow estuarine habitats that can result in toxicity to resident fauna.
     Sediments will be collected from thirty retention ponds of various ages and associated with a variety of man's activities. The selected retention ponds range in age from those which are 3 decades old to those just recently built. The retention ponds are located in Glynn, McIntosh, Liberty, and Chatham counties. At each site sediments will be collected from both the retention pond and the adjacent estuary. The sediments from each site will be analyzed for both organic (polycyclic arolmatic hydrocarbons, various pesticides) and inorganic (chromium, silver, zinc, cooper, mercury, and lead) contaminants. Organic contaminants will be analyzed with a gas-liquid chromatograph and a gas liquid chromatograph interfaced with a mass spectrometer. Assays on the reproduction, embryo development and DNA integrity of grass shrimp will be used to assess the genotoxicant effects.

Preliminary data suggests that plants may play an important role in degrading organic genotoxicants which enter retention ponds.


Related Project:
Study of Changes in Contaminant Marker Compound Concentrations and Genotoxic Biomarkers During Phases of Development Planned for the Altamaha River Basin

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This page was updated October 13, 2006