The biology of environmental stress: molecular biomarkers in Sydney rock oysters (Saccostrea glomerata)
This review describes our recent work on environmental stress in Sydney rock oysters, focusing on the identification of molecular biomarkers for ecotoxicological analysis. We begin by describing the environmental pressures facing coastal estuaries in Australia, with particular reference to Sydney Harbour. After providing that context, we summarise our transcriptional and proteomic analyses of Sydney rock oysters responding to chemical contamination and other forms of environmental stress. This work has shown that the intracellular processes of oysters are highly responsive to environmental threats. Our data agree with the broader literature, which suggests that there is a highly conserved intracellular stress response in oysters involving a limited number of biological processes. We conclude that many effective molecular markers for environmental biomonitoring are likely to lie within these biological pathways.