Disorder and Recovery of Environmental Health, Monitored by Means of Lysosomal StabilityK. Broeg, A. Köhler & H.v. Westernhagen1Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, GERMANY.Biological effects, studied in the German Bight from 1995 to 2000, indicated serious impairments of the environmental health in the Wadden Sea following acute discharges of DDT and PCBs in early spring 1996 and the riverbed deepening of the River Elbe from 1998 on. The integrity of lysosomal membranes, which is known to reflect the health status of the liver, was measured in individual flounder liver samples as a marker for non-specific toxic responses.During the study period, twice statistically significant deterioration of lysosomal responses occurred in flounder from the River Elbe: one in summer 1996 and one in spring 1999. Yet, the detrimental effects were not only restricted to animals from the Elbe but were expanded to those individuals inhabiting initially less polluted reference areas. In contrast to the animals of the Elbe, their ability to recover from these disorders were limited. While in autumn 2000 Elbe individuals showed clear signs of recovery, those animals caught in areas more distant to the toxic input source still maintained significantly decreased lysosomal membrane integrity. It can be speculated that populations which are not continuously exposed to chronic anthropogenic stress may have a lower potential to recover from the effects of pollution.