BIOMARKERS TO ASSESS THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH OF AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS
Keywords:biomarkers, environmental assessment, pollution, aquatic ecosystems.
Aquatic environments are increasingly threatened by contamination of industrial, agricultural and urban sources. Quantifying the pollutant agents in the environment does not provide information of their effects over organisms. Others biological tools should thus be used in monitoring water quality to allow for a better understanding of the stress and the effects pollutants cause in environments, enabling tracing cause-effect relationships. The biological responses, termed biomarkers, are used to assess the effects of exposure to arious contaminants, such as metals, organic compounds, and pesticides. Biomarkers are efficiently applied in studies of risk assessment and environmental impact providing an early evaluation of the actual effects of pollutants on the biota. The use of biomarkers in environmental studies is important to implement adequate actions while protecting aquatic environments.