John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Sensitivity of six subantarctic marine invertebrates to common metal contaminants

A long history of anthropogenic activities in the relatively pristine subantarctic has resulted in areas of accumulated waste and contaminants. Sensitivities to metals of subantarctic and Antarctic species may contrast with related species from temperate and tropical areas, due to the unique characteristics of polar biota. In addition, response to contaminants may be delayed and hence longer exposure periods may be required in toxicity tests with polar species. We determined the sensitivity of six common subantarctic marine invertebrates to copper, zinc and cadmium contaminants. Large variation in sensitivities, both between species and between metals within species were found. The bivalve Gaimardia trapesina and the copepod Harpacticus sp. were the most sensitive to copper, with 7 d LC50 values for both species ranging between 28 µg/L and 62 µg/L, while the copepod Tigriopus angulatus was the most tolerant of copper (7 d Cu LC50 1560 µg/L). Sensitivity to zinc varied by approximately 1 order of magnitude between species (7 d LC50: 329 µg/L to 3057 µg/L). Sensitivity to cadmium also varied considerably between species, with 7 d LC50 values ranging from 1612 µg/L to >4383 µg/L. This is the first study to report the sensitivity of subantarctic marine invertebrate to metals, and contributes significantly to our understanding of latitudinal gradients in the sensitivity of biota to metals. Whilst sensitivity is highly variable between species, in a global comparison of copepod data, it appears that species from higher latitudes may be more sensitive to copper. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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