Evidence has linked toxicants in aquatic systems with cancer in fish and population level effects on species. Thus some types of tumors may be useful monitors of ecosystem health, at least as affected by genotoxins and promoters. However, tumors caused by purely genetic mechanisms or by virus would not be good indicators. Only neoplasms which have chemicals as a portion of their etiology (either as initiators or promoters) would be useful in assessing ecosystem health. Lesions which may fit these criteria include liver neoplasms (both biliary and hepatic) and skin lesions in a variety of primarily benthic fishes, and neural lesions in various drum species and in butterfly fish species. Two studies purporting to demonstrate a lack of tumors in fish from polluted areas have been reexamined and found either to have insufficient data on vulnerable species or to actually support a tumor-pollution linkage. Thus certain lesions in vulnerable species or species groups may serve as a mechanism to assess one facet of ecosystem health.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||The use of tumors in wild populations of fish to assess ecosystem health|
|Series title||Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Health|
|Contributing office(s)||Columbia Environmental Research Center|