Yucatán (Times Media Mexico) .- “Yucatan researchers are using two different fish species and one octopus species as biomarkers of marine pollution, salinity and temperature”, reports the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Biomarkers are quantifiable biological parameters that change upon exposure to a xenobiotic (not the body’s own) compound, or other environmental or physiological disturbances, that can be indicators of an exposure to, or effect of a toxic compound.
“The objective is to measure the effect of factors such as temperature, chemicals or contaminants, on organisms that are endemic or associated with the Yucatan Peninsula”, said Gabriela Rodríguez Fuentes, a specialist with UNAM’s School of Chemistry.
The researcher and her team are working with three species: a fish that lives in cenotes, another in the marine zone, and an octopus that lives in the off the Yucatecan shore.
In the cenotes, they analyze the Yucatan guayacón fish, which they use as a ” guardian ” of the quality of the water where it lives.
“Although the contamination levels in the cenotes are not as high as in other areas, we do have a measurable effect, which is already evident,” the UNAM’s specialist said.
In the marine zone, the species used as an indicator is the veil guppy, which they use in the laboratory to see how sensitive it is to the effects of contaminants. “We work with pesticides and a very reactive biomarker; we realize that at relevant environmental concentrations, there is an effect on the biomarker of this fish,” the scientist stated.
“Octopuses are sensitive to temperature and could migrate in the face of possible climate change”, she explained. “We don’t want them to leave, so we are investigating whether the probable increase in temperature on the peninsula will affect the octopus populations,” Gabriela Rodríguez Fuentes concluded.
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