i Feniglia”) sandbars.

Summer tourism induces levels of MBAS in lagoon water to increase of almost an order of magnitude in both basins. Recorded higher concentration in Eastern basin than in Western ones reflect the general trend previously observed in this ecosystem for nutrients [6] as a result of the water circulation management performed from May to October by artificial pumps. In fact fluxes from the Western toward the Eastern basin induce water concentration of chemicals in the latter ones. A statistical relationships between MBAS levels and water salinity (the descriptor selected to trace water evaporation phenomena) is not observed. This is, probably, caused by the contextual effect on MBAS levels of both freshwater discharges inputs and evaporation on MBAS levels. From June to October 2011 (the whole period considered in this study), only seven rainy days were recorded allowing to exclude the occurrence of significant dilution phenomena due to atmospheric precipitations.

Even if LAS represents the principal component of MBAS responsible of toxicological effects, some evidences are reported by the literature concerning toxicity induced by MBAS exposure of aquatic species [10]. MBAS observed fluctuations could represent a synergical factor able to interfere with the documented seasonal and annual fluctuations of phanerogams distribution inside the Orbetello lagoon [9]. Furthermore, wind-driven areosols and foams containing MBAS which could be formed from hot-spot sources could affect riparian vegetation all around the lagoon basin [4] producing undesiderable effects on local protected species (i.e. Pistacia lentiscus, Phillyrea angustifolia, Salicornietum radicantis, Sarcocornia perennis, Arthrocnemum macrostachium, Arthrocnemetum macrostachyum, Sphenopus divaricatus) whom presence and distribution around the Orbetello lagoon is documented by technical reports [15].

For these reasons, further studies aimed to evaluate the percentage of LAS contributing to the MBAS levels measured are needed to clarify toxicological aspects related to species distributions inside the lagoon basin.

An aspect of particular concern is linked to chemical factors able to negatively affect phanerogams distribution. In spite of that, results evidence a clear relationsgip between levels measured in correspondence of hot-spot sources of pollution and the summer season due to the tourism exploitation of little houses agglomerates and urban areas not jet collected to the wastewater treatment plant. Studies finalized to correlate observed MBAS levels with aquatic phanerogams distributions within the lagoon will be developed.

Further management actions should be focalized on reducing untreated sources of MBAS in this ecosystem and should include a complete revision of uncontrolled effluents.

5. Acknowledgements

Authors are grateful to Carmine De Francesco for organization and performing of sampling activities. A special thank to the Orbetello Pesca Lagunare fishing Society for logistical support. Furthermore, we are grateful to the Nautilus Society (Loc. Trainiti, Vibo Valentia, Italy) for their analytical support in validating acquired data performing inter-calibration exercises.


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