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First results on zooplankton community composition and contamination by some persistent organic pollutants in the Gulf of Tadjoura (Djibouti)

Boldrocchi, G., Moussa Omar, Y., Rowat, D., Bettinetti, R.
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.627 pp. 812-821
Calanidae, DDD (pesticide), DDE (pesticide), DDT (pesticide), Rhincodon typus, biomass, community structure, persistent organic pollutants, polychlorinated biphenyls, zooplankton, Djibouti
The Gulf of Tadjoura is located in the Horn of Africa and is widely recognized as an important site where the zooplanktivorous whale sharks seasonally aggregate from October to February. The surface zooplankton community (0–3m) was weekly sampled from November 2016 to February 2017 in two sites during the whale shark aggregation period. A total of 12 phyla were identified. Copepoda represented the most abundant and diverse group with 29 different genera, and contributed with an average of 82% of the mean zooplankton density of approximately 6600indm−3. During the sampling period, copepods were dominated numerically by Calanoida (3600indm−3), followed by Poicilostomatatoida (1300indm−3). Within the copepods, Paracalanidae, Calanidae, Oncaeidae and Miraciidae were the most common families. The temporal trend in zooplankton biomass at both stations revealed the highest peak in December (41.3±36.4mgm−3), and the lowest in February (6.6±3.3mgm−3). As no information is available on the occurrence of legacy contaminants use and release in this area, analysis revealed the consistent presence of both DDT and PCB residues in zooplankton samples in the Gulf of Tadjoura. Total PCB ranged from approximately 110 to 637ngg−1 d.w., while total DDT from 21 to 80ngg−1 d.w. The proportion of primary DDT in the total residue was higher than DDE and DDD, which strongly suggests that the area might actually be subjected to DDT inputs of the parent compound.