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Evaluation of a fish health assessment index as biomonitoring tool for heavy metal contamination in the Olifants River catchment area

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. A. Avenant-Oldewage en_US
dc.contributor.author Watson, Raylene Mullineux
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-12T08:31:04Z
dc.date.available 2012-09-12T08:31:04Z
dc.date.issued 2012-09-12
dc.date.submitted 2001
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/7570
dc.description Ph.D. en_US
dc.description.abstract The current study evaluated a bio-monitoring technique developed in the USA by Adams, Brown and Goede, 1993. This project was sponsored by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), to enable testing of the Health Assessment Index (HAI) under South African conditions. Testing took place in the Olifants River system, one of the most polluted river systems . in South Africa. Initially two river points were tested using Oreochromis mossambicus (Robinson, 1996), Clarias gariepinus (Marx, 1996) and Labeo rosae (Luus-Powell, 1997). The current study re-tested the HAI at the same two sample sites, namely Mamba and Balule in the Kruger National Park, using 0. mossambicus and C. gariepinus respectively. Two additional sites were tested in the upper catchment area, namely Loskop Dam and Bronkhorstspruit Dam. The current study further enabled the comparison of HAI results collected during drought and flood conditions. Results obtained after deployment of the HAI were corroborated using chemical analysis of water, sediment and biota. Water and sediment analysis was carried out by the Institute for Water Quality Studies using standard techniques. Bio-accumulation of aluminium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, strontium and zinc was assessed in the gills, liver, skin and muscle tissue of sample fish using standard Atomic Absorption Spectrometry techniques. Modifications made to the original HAI involved the inclusion of variable ranking in the assessment of fish parasites, with endo- and ectoparasites evaluated separately. Testing of this parasite hypothesis lead to the development of a Parasite Index component to the HAI. Assessment of water, sediment and fish tissue determined that the Olifants River system is indeed exposed to macro and heavy metal pollutants, which negatively affect aquatic health. Constituents posing the greatest threat are chlorides, fluorides, phosphates, total dissolved solids, copper and iron concentrations. Testing the HAI and parasite hypothesis using C. gariepinus, provided the most meaningful results. During testing of the parasite hypothesis both endo- and ectoparasite numbers conformed to the suggested idea that higher endoparasite numbers will occur at highly impacted areas, whereby ectoparasite numbers will be low. This was particularly evident in the lower catchment area, whereby comparisons between drought and flood conditions were carried out. Subsequent decreases in water quality directly after the flood were noted using water and sediment analysis. This observation reflects the results gathered using the HAT and during testing of the parasite hypothesis at all four sample sites. During statistical analysis of the HAI, using logistic regression analysis, parasite numbers, more specifically endoparasite numbers, were the most indicative of fish health. Environmental stressors (flood conditions) result in immunological responses observed in fish, and are reflected statistically using the HAI as changes in WBC %. It is suggested that endoparasites and WBC % provide the best overall assessment of fish condition. These variables should thus not be eliminated, in order to streamline the HAI evaluation procedures. Testing of this bio-monitoring technique under South African conditions provided meaningful results. This indicates that the HAI can be used to assess water quality, with existing water monitoring programmes further benefiting from its incorporation. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Clarias gariepinus - Effect of heavy metals on - Research - South Africa - Olifants River. en_US
dc.subject Mozambique tilapia - Effect of heavy metals on - Research - South Africa - Olifants River en_US
dc.subject Metal wastes - South Africa - Olifants River en_US
dc.subject Fishes - Effect of heavy metals on - Research - South Africa - Olifants River en_US
dc.title Evaluation of a fish health assessment index as biomonitoring tool for heavy metal contamination in the Olifants River catchment area en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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