Mots clés : Mediterranean, Posidonia oceanica, Trace element (TE), Water quality scale, Pollution index, Spatial analysis
A large scale survey of the trace element (TE) contamination of Mediterranean coastal waters was performed from the analysis of Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb in the bioindicator Posidonia oceanica, sampled at 110 sites differing by their levels of exposure to contaminants. The holistic approach developed in this study, based on the combined utilization of several complementary monitoring tools, i.e. water quality scale, pollution index and spatial analysis, accurately assessed the TE contamination rate of Mediterranean coastal waters. In particular, the mapping of the TE contamination according to a new proposed 5-level water quality scale precisely outlined the contamination severity along Mediterranean coasts and facilitated interregional comparisons. Finally, the reliability of the use of P. oceanica as bioindicator species was again demonstrated through several global, regional and local detailed case studies.