Keywords: brine disposal, brine discharges, seagrasses, seawater desalination, Mediterranean, echinoderms, monitoring, biological communities, Posidonia oceanica, water shortage, environmental impact, hypersaline effluent, marine ecosystems, bioindicators
Monitoring of brine discharges from seawater desalination plants in the Mediterranean
Desalination of seawater has become an important and growing industry due to the water shortage in some Mediterranean countries. This activity may result in environmental impacts, mainly generated by the discharge into the sea of the concentrate (brine) produced. Data regarding the dispersion of these hypersaline effluents, and about their effects in the marine ecosystem, are very scarce. The objective of this paper is to present some strategies for the monitoring, in time and space, of the brine discharge, and to describe the marine organisms selected as bioindicators for these studies (seagrasses and echinoderms), due to their relevance and high sensitivity to salinity changes.