This study focused on several wetlands in Laguna del Tigre National Park (Guatemala) as part of Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program. Sediment and water samples were collected from a laguna near Xan field, Guatemala's largest oil facility, and three other sites for determination of levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Cichlid fish (Thorichthys meeki and Vieja synspila) were collected for determination of DNA strand breakage (by gel electrophoresis), chromosomal breakage (flow cytometry), and fin erosion. For T. meeki from Xan field, chromosomal breakage and strand breakage was greater than in at least two of the three reference sites. For V. synspila, chromosomal breakage and strand breakage were greater in Xan than one of the two reference sites. Fin erosion was observed only at the Xan laguna. Genetic biomarker effects and fin erosion, along with patterns of aqueous PAH concentrations, indicate that fish are affected by anthropogenic contaminants. PAHs were elevated at some reference sites, but environmental forensic analysis suggested a pyrogenic or diagenic origin. It is possible that oil field brines injected into the ground water caused fin erosion and genotoxicity in fish at Xan field, and it is also possible that pyrogenic PAHs influence levels of DNA damage in reference sites. These analyses represent one of the first efforts to examine genotoxicity in native Mesoamerican cichlids.
- Polycyclic Hydrocarbons, AromaticAnimal FinsAnimalsCHROMOSOME BREAKAGECichlidsDNADNA DamageElectrophoresis, Gel, Two-DimensionalEnvironmental MonitoringIndustryPetroleumPolycyclic Aromatic HydrocarbonsWater Pollutants, ChemicalWetlandsDNA Strand BreakageFlow CytometryCichlidGuatemalaGenotoxicityFin ErosionCrude OilEnvironmental Forensics