Mangrove ecosystems are unique habitats which offer a great variety of goods and services to the ecosystem and to the society. Unfortunately, they have been globally threatened by urbanization and industrialization which have triggered widespread overexploitation of the world’s mangrove forests despite their ecological and economic importance.
In South China, namely in Macao, the health and integrity of mangroves are aggravated due to substantial discharge of industrial sewage into the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) from the coastal cities. Among different types of pollutants in the sewage, trace metals are of special concern since alarming levels of cadmium, lead and zinc were annually discharged into the Pearl River, potentially causing far-reaching ramifications on human health and ecosystems.
Besides metals contamination, pollution by pesticides is of great concern because of their ability to cause, in a global scale and years ahead from the present, severe environmental, ecologic and health consequences.
Despite the numerous studies on phytoremediation, little attention has been to the role of mangroves on the bioaccumulation and citogenotoxic effects of metals and organic compounds on the food web and consequently on human health. So, the main objectives of this project are:
1) to do a spatial/seasonal characterization of the abiotic parameters as well as contaminants (metals and pesticides), the latter through a time-integrated passive sampling method, in mangrove vegetated versus non-vegetated areas;