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The effect of bioturbation by lumbriculus variegatus on transport and distribution of lead in a freshwater microcosm

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The present study investigated the effect of bioturbation by the oligochaete worm Lumbriculus variegatus on the transport and environmental distribution of lead (Pb). Experiments used L. variegatus at densities of 0, 2093 and 8372 ind./m2, in freshwater microcosms with Pb‐spiked sediment. At the end of the 14 d experiment, lead levels in the water column, tissues of L. variegatus, and sediment were determined; furthermore bioturbation was quantified using luminophores. The bioturbation by L. variegatus increased Pb transport from the sediment to the water column. However, it did not significantly affect Pb bioaccumulation by L. variegatus or Pb levels in the sediment. The biodiffusion coefficient (Db) was positively related to worm density, but did not differ between Pb‐spiked sediment and uncontaminated sediment. The latter suggests that Pb at the 100 µg/g concentration used in this study did not affect L. variegatus bioturbation. The present study shows that bioturbation can enhance Pb transfer across the sediment‐water interface and thus enhance Pb availability to organisms in the water column. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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