John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Salinity and dissolved organic carbon both affect copper toxicity in mussel larvae: Copper speciation or competition cannot explain everything

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Predicting copper (Cu) toxicity in marine and estuarine environments is challenging because of the influence of anions on Cu speciation, competition between Cu2+ and other cations at the biotic ligand and the effect of salinity on the physiology of the organism. In the present study the combined effect of salinity and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) on Cu toxicity to larvae of Mytilus galloprovincialis was assessed. Two statistical models were developed and used to elucidate the relationship between Cu toxicity, salinity, and DOC. All models based on dissolved Cu indicate a decrease in Cu toxicity with increasing DOC concentrations, which can partly be explained by complexation of Cu2+ ions with DOC. These models also indicate an increase in Cu toxicity (modeled with dissolved Cu or Cu2+ activity) with increasing salinity, suggesting a salinity‐induced alteration in the physiology of the mussel larvae. When based on Cu body burdens, neither of the models indicates an effect of salinity or DOC. This shows that the Cu body burden is a more constant predictor of Cu toxicity, regardless of the water chemistry influencing Cu speciation or competition and possible physiological alterations or changes in Cu speciation or competition. Environ Toxicol Chem 2015;9999:1–7. © 2015 SETAC

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