Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012HI389B

Bioaccumulation and Biotransformation of Arsenic by Marine Algae in Hawaii

Institute: Hawaii
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $6,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $11,840

Principal Investigators: Philip Moravcik

Abstract: Marine algae are known to bioaccumulate and transform Arsenic (AS). AS was used in earlier decades as a pesticide on agricultural fields in Hawaii. Macroalgae collected at some sites on the shore of Oahu have been found to contain elevated concentrations of AS. Runoff of contaminated former agricultural fields is the suspected source. Furthermore several species of macroalgae are commonly gathered and consumed as human food. We propose to collect samples of one or more algae species from beaches around the island of Oahu. We will analyze these samples for the amount and species of arsenic compounds they contain. We will evaluate the findings of these analyses in regard to the geographic distribution of the samples and historical agricultural activities in the areas surrounding the collection sites.