Document Type

Theses, Masters


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Sucessfully submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) to the Technological University Dublin, 2009


Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are internationally considered as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which can be mutagenic, carcinogenic and may accumulate in aquatic organisms and potentially in the human chain. PCBs and PAHs are thus listed as priority pollutants in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and under the Convention for the protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (Oslo Paris Convention: OSPAR). Currently most marine monitoring programmes involving such compounds rely on the collection and analysis of discrete water/sediment grab samples or on the analysis of filter feeding indicator organisms e.g. mussels. Such measurements can provide unrepresentative pictures regarding seasonal variations and point source discharges of contaminants. Passive sampling techniques potentially offer significant “time-integrated” advantages over conventional spot analysis. This project involves participation in an International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) initiative on the use of silicone rubber passive samplers (PS) to monitor dissolved water concentrations (Cw) of PCBs and PAHs in two test sites in Irish marine waters. PS membranes and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) were deployed in Dublin Bay and Galway Bay for 6 weeks and POPs were analysed in collected media (spot water sample, transplanted mussels and PS). Similar/lower limits of detection for POPs were derived for PS compared to conventional spot water sample analysis. Differences in POP profiles in transplanted mussels and those derived from the PS devices are discussed. POP bioaccumulation factor (BAF) and equilibration models were generated, using mussel tissue data and PS derived Cw. Overall it is concluded that silicone rubber PS provide a promising method for the monitoring of dissolved phase PAH/PCB concentrations in marine waters.