Individual and molecular level effects of produced water contaminants on nauplii and adult females of Calanus finmarchicus
In the Barents Sea region new petroleum fields are discovered yearly and extraction of petroleum products is expected to increase in the upcoming years. Despite enhanced technology and stricter governmental legislation, establishment of the petroleum industry in the Barents Sea may potentially introduce a new source of contamination to the area, as some discharges of produced water will be allowed. Whether the presence of produced water poses a risk to the Arctic marine life remains to be investigated. The aim of this study was to examine effects of exposure to several compounds found in produced water—a mixture of selected organic compounds (APW), radium-226 (226Ra), barium (Ba), and a scale inhibitor—on the copepod species Calanus finmarchicus. Experiments were performed using exposure concentrations at realistic levels based on those detected in the vicinity of known discharge points. The influence of lethal and sublethal effects on early life stages was determined and significantly lower survival in the APW exposure groups was found. In the Ba treatment the life stage development did not proceed to the same advanced stages as observed in the control (filtered sea water). The scale inhibitor and 226Ra treatments showed no significant difference from control. In addition, adult females were exposed to APW, 226Ra, and a mixture of the two. Both individual-level effects (egg production and feeding) and molecular-level effects (gene expression) were assessed. On the individual level endpoints, only treatments including APW produced an effect compared to control. However, on the molecular level the possibility that also 226Ra induced toxicologically relevant effects cannot be ruled out.