Marine-based toxicology is a field that combines biology, chemistry, pharmacology and medicine to study the adverse effects of chemical substances on the plants, animals and ecosystems of ocean environments. Typically, a marine toxicologist will analyse how manufactured chemicals and other anthropogenic and natural materials and activities impact marine organisms from a subcellular level through to individual organisms and even whole communities.
Common examples include the pollution of heavy metals into inland waterways and how they perpetuate through, and concentrate in, the aquatic food-chain.
At the bottom of this profile are brief details of a number of the experts that Expert Experts represents. Call our office to discuss your requirements and to obtain an expert submission that suits your needs and budget.
Expertise in Action
Toxicologists commonly perform epidemiological studies of how exposure to foreign chemicals affects the genetic, chemical, physical and structural composition of cells, tissues, organs, and whole organisms in coastal areas and how these affect fisheries, drinking water, inland waterways, etc.
They analyse blood, urine and other biological and environmental samples to identify the chemical composition and concentration of contaminants.
Finally, marine toxicologists write reports for aquatic research institutions, the Department of the Environment and Energy, conservation groups, and fisheries, and provide press releases for the media. These reports provide advice to politicians, fishing companies, marine tourist operators, healthcare workers and the general public.
In court, marine toxicologists can serve as expert witnesses in cases involving pollutants or chemicals and they are commonly faced with questions involving estimation of toxins ingested. The opinions they provide can be useful to plaintiffs and defendants alike.
Pharmacological/toxicological experts specialising in the marine environment may be required to provide opinions on:
- The health effects of exposure to cyanobacteria in lakes and rivers
- The health effects of exposure to marine algal neurotoxins
- The levels of toxins in seafood such as shellfish and oysters
- The impact of fish farms on the local ecosystem
- Fish-borne diseases that can permeate through the foodchain
For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.
The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:
- The need for a view or inspection of a location
- The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
- Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
- Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype
Marine oil pollution
The issue of marine oil pollution has become topical with several major oil spills occurring in 2009 and 2010. Despite improvements in control technologies, spills can have a significant impact on coastal and marine environments and thus on the livelihoods of those in the fishing and tourism industries. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinates the response to oil spills under the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and Other Noxious and Hazardous Substances.
How salmon farming pushed Macquarie Harbour to the limit
Despite assurances of "world's best practice", salmon farming has turned Macquarie Harbour into a battleground over stocking levels, pollution, regulation and corporate oversight.
Huon Aquaculture Group Limited v Minister for the Environment  FCA 1011
The impact of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) is discussed in relation to pre-existing marine farming near Tasmania’s World Heritage Areas.
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