Ecological consequences of copper contamination in macroalgae: effects on epifauna and associated herbivores

Roberts, David A., Poore, Alistair G.B., and Johnston, Emma L. (2006) Ecological consequences of copper contamination in macroalgae: effects on epifauna and associated herbivores. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 25 (9). pp. 2470-2479.

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Many contaminants of the marine environment are able to chelate to sediments, bind within organic matrices, or be accumulated by organisms such as invertebrates and macroalgae. Marine macroalgae are recognized as effective and efficient bioaccumulators of heavy metals and are sometimes used as bioindicators. Macroalgae support abundant and diverse communities of mobile invertebrates that play key roles in temperate marine environments. However, the potential ecological consequences of the contamination of algae on associated epifauna are yet to be considered. In this study, the brown alga Sargassum linearifolium was experimentally spiked with copper to assess the effects of contamination on epifaunal invertebrates in both field and laboratory assays. Copper contamination greatly reduced the colonization of a variety of epifaunal taxa in the field. Laboratory assays further examined the effects of contaminated macroalgae on habitat preferences, feeding rates, survivorship, and growth in the herbivorous amphipod Peramphithoe parmerong. Adult P. parmerong were less likely to select spiked macroalgae in short-term habitat preference assays and consumed spiked algae at lower rates in feeding assays. In a longer-term (30-d) experiment, survivorship of juvenile amphipods was reduced by up to 75% by contaminated macroalgae, but no effects on the growth of survivors was observed. Heavy metal contamination of macroalgae is a widespread phenomenon that has the potential for substantial negative consequences for associated invertebrate fauna. This issue warrants further investigation by marine ecotoxicologists.

Item ID: 27923
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1552-8618
Keywords: amphipods, copper, epifauna, macroalgae, toxicity
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2013 00:05
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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