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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Physiological responses of estuarine animals to cadmium pollution

  • H. Theede1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen33:BF02414732


Toxic effects of cadmium contamination may be observed at all levels of organismic organization. In estuarine areas the sensitivity of euryhaline species to acute Cd toxicity is strongly modified by various abiotic factors, whereas long-term threshold values are less dependent on environmental parameters. Experiments with larval stages of the molluscMytilus edulis reveal that Cd effects on life functions such as development and growth are differentially modified by temperature and salinity. High Cd concentrations can be accumulated by adult bivalves of coastal areas without signs of physiological damage. Mechanisms of heavy-metal detoxication in these molluscs seem to be quite different from those known to exist in vertebrates. Among decapod crustaceans, stenoecous species tend to exhibit higher rates of Cd uptake than euryoecous ones. Rates of Cd uptake and of accumulation depend on external and internal factors. In adultNereis succinea individuals sublethal Cd effects have been recorded on growth and food conversion (in terms of energy content).