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Metal accumulation and sublethal effects in the sea anemone,Aiptasia pallida, after waterborne exposure to metal mixtures

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C Toxicology & Pharmacology
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2013.07.001
  • Metals
  • Mixtures
  • Sea Anemones
  • Antioxidant Enzymes
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography


Abstract The marine environment is subjected to contamination by a complex mixture of metals from various anthropogenic sources. Measuring the biological responses of organisms to a complex mixture of metals allows for examination of metal-specific responses in an environmentally realistic exposure scenario. To address this issue, the sea anemone, Aiptasia pallida was exposed to a control and a metal mixture (copper, zinc, nickel, and cadmium) at three exposure levels (10, 50, and 100μg/L) for 7days. Anemones were then transferred to metal-free seawater for an additional 7days after the metal exposure to assess metal depuration and recovery. Metal accumulation, activity of the enzymes catalase, glutathione reductase, and carbonic anhydrase, as well as, cell density of the symbiotic zooxanthellae were measured over 14days. Metal accumulation in A. pallida occurred in a concentration dependent manner over the 7-day exposure period. Altered enzyme activity and tentacle retraction of the host, as well as decreased zooxanthellae cell density were observed responses over the 7days, after exposure to a metal concentration as low as 10μg/L. Metal depuration and physiological recovery were dependent on both the metal and the exposure concentration. Understanding how A. pallida and their symbionts are affected by metal exposures in the laboratory may allow better understanding about the responses of symbiotic cnidarians in metal polluted aquatic environments.

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