SUCHIMED 2021 Campaign - Chemical contamination survey in Mediterranean coastal waters

SUCHIMED 2021 is the 10th campaign for monitoring chemical contamination and its evolution in the Mediterranean Sea. It has been designed as a platform supporting various surveillance and research activities, with the main pillar being the RINBIO network, which involves active biosurveillance through mussel caging. Regarding chemical contamination, the main results of this campaign are as follows:

In Occitania region:

- Chronic presence of DDT for 20 years.

- Detection of terrigenous markers (Mn, As) between the mouths of the Aude and Hérault rivers, along with contamination of sediments near Port-La-Nouvelle by HAP and TCE (Pt).

In PACA region:

- PCB markers detected between the Rhône River and Marseille (in all matrices), originating from multiple sources with no significant changes over the past 20 years.

- HAP contamination in sediments of the industrial-port zone in Fos.

- Presence of TBT at the Carry-le-Rouet station above ecologically acceptable concentrations (EAC), to be confirmed in the next campaign.

- Detection of metallic elements and HAP in sediments near the Marseille urban area, partly in plankton, along with TCE near the Cortiou wastewater treatment plant outfall.

- Chronic marking of PCB, HAP, metals (Hg, Pb, Cu, TCE), PBDE, and/or organotin compounds (TBT) in Toulon Bay, showing no significant temporal trend over two decades for the first five compounds.

- Detection of Cr, Mn, and Ni in the water column and HAP in sediments near the Var River mouth, with differences in contamination between matrices raising questions about organic matter origin.

- Metal (including Pb) and HAP marking in the water column and sediment in Villefranche Bay.

Around Corsica:

- Strong influence of the island's geological background (i.e., high Cr and Ni content) on obtained concentrations.

- Chronic marking of Cu in the water column in the ports of Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio, stable over time, with HAP, metals (Hg, Pb, Zn), and to a lesser extent, PCB detection in Bonifacio sediment.

- Marking of HAP and TCE in the sediment of the Bastia coastline.

- Detection of Pb and TCE at the Golo River mouth.

- Contamination of the Canari site with metals (Cr and Ni in the water column, Cu in sediment), and notably, confirmed ecotoxicity likely linked to these elements.

The 2021 campaign highlighted the feasibility of researching effects on caged mussels using biomarkers. Lysosomal markers, less sensitive to trophic differences, proved to best reflect the general stress state of organisms related to their contamination.

The study of trophic transfers appears to confirm the decrease in most metallic elements (Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb) and HAP, bioamplification of Hg and PCB, and specific bioaccumulation of certain elements by organisms (e.g., As or Zn by mussels, HAP by plankton).

Finally, the campaign revealed the presence of micro and mesoplastics at almost all sampled sites. The measured microplastic values align with concentrations observed in the western Mediterranean, with a trend towards reduction based on available 10-year data.


Chemical oceanography, Environment


Mediterranean sea, DCE, DCSMM, RINBIO, chemical status, biomonitoring, contaminants, biomarkers, microplastics, mussels, sediments, trophic network


43.624076N, 41.298371S, 9.766846E, 2.351074W


190 KoCSVQuality controlled data
How to cite
Herlory Olivier, Briand Marine, Brach-Papa Christophe, Brochen Michelle, Chavanon Fabienne, Chouteau Leelou, Connes Coralie, Coudray Sylvain, de Vogüé Benoist, Gerigny Olivia, Gonzalez Jean-Louis, Marco-Miralles Francoise, Ravel Christophe, Tomasino Corinne, Brun Mélanie, Briant Nicolas, Le Monier Pauline, Drouet Flora, Banaru Daniela, Carlotti François, Jamet Dominique, Jamet Jean-Louis, Benito Denis, Briaudreau Tifanie, Izaguirre-Aramayona Urtzi, Giraud Anaïs, Boissery Pierre, Derolez Valerie, Munaron Dominique, Bouchoucha Marc (2021). SUCHIMED 2021 Campaign - Chemical contamination survey in Mediterranean coastal waters. SEANOE.

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