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Title: Can Nassarius reticulatus be used as a bioindicator for Hg contamination? Results from a longitudinal study of the Portuguese coastline
Authors: Coelho, J. P. 
Pimenta, J. 
Gomes, R. 
Barroso, C. M. 
Pereira, M. E. 
Pardal, M. A. 
Duarte, A. 
Keywords: Mercury; Bioaccumulation; Biomagnification; Nassarius reticulatus; Bioindicator
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: Marine Pollution Bulletin. 52:6 (2006) 674-680
Abstract: The focus of this work is to explore the use of the netted whelk, Nassarius reticulatus (L.), as an indicator of mercury (Hg) contamination, by assessing the concentration of Hg in the sediments and in the whelk along the entire Portuguese coast. Total Hg concentrations ranged from below the detection limit (0.01 ng absolute mercury) up to 0.87 mg kg-1 dry weight (dwt) in sediments and between 0.06 and 1.02 mg kg-1 (dwt) for organisms, with no significant differences between males and females. Although organic mercury was not detected in the sediments, it represented, on average, 52% of the total Hg in the whelk tissues, and as high as 88% in some cases, suggesting mercury accumulation from dietary intake. Significant negative correlations were found between the total Hg concentrations in the sediments and the log10 of Hg concentrations in whelk tissues males (r = -0.64; P < 0.01) and females (r = -0.52; P < 0.01) indicating that the species is a poor indicator of Hg contamination. Nevertheless, since the highest concentrations of organic mercury in the whelk tissues were found in the least contaminated areas, this species must be highly relevant in the trophic web, namely on the possible biomagnification of mercury. The high dietary mercury accumulation from feeding on carrion and the low bioavailability of mercury to whelks in estuarine sediments may be the basis of the mercury accumulation pattern in N. reticulatus.
DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2005.10.020
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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