Eco-toxicology represents an important integrative tool of environmental risk assessment. Amphipods is a taxon much recommended for bioassay, but species used are generally from the Atlantic Ocean or the North Sea. None of the Mediterranean species has ever been examined.

In an eco-toxicological evaluation of harbour sediment, Corophium orientale, an endemic Mediterranean species, was investigated for suitability to determine sediment quality. Physical-chemical analyses and amphipod bioassays on several contaminated Italian harbour samples were carried out. Two amphipod populations with different sensitivities were used. Microtox®, a sensitive and reproducible assay procedure, was used in parallel with C. orientale assay in order to ascertain an agreement and/or disagreement between responses. The results of the two bioassay procedures supported the hypothesis that C. orientale, as part of a battery of bioassays, is sensitive to hydro-soluble pollutants contaminating the water column due to dredging activities.

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