Marine Biology

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 253–257 | Cite as

Mechanisms of copper toxicity in the shore crab, Carcinus maenas

I. Effects on Na,K-ATPase activity, haemolymph electrolyte concentrations and tissue water contents
  • Jan Ivan Hansen
  • Tariq Mustafa
  • Michael Depledge


This study was initiated to further elucidate mechanisms responsible for copper toxicity in the hyperregulating shore crab, Carcinus maenas (L.). Crabs, collected in the Odense Fjord, Denmark between September 1989 and May 1990, were exposed to 10 ppm copper(II)chloride in 10 ppt salinity at 15°C for up to 1 wk prior to measuring gill Na,K-ATPase activity, haemolymph sodium and potassium concentrations and fr. wt/dry wt ratios. Copper exposure reduced haemolymph sodium concentration by 40% and gill Na,K-ATPase activity by 50 to 60% after 1 wk. Haemolymph potassium levels exhibited variable responses. It is concluded that inhibition of gill Na,K-ATPase activity was primarily responsible for reductions in haemolymph electrolyte levels but that this was possibly not the prineiple cause of morbidity and mortality.


Sodium Copper Chloride Potassium Toxicity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Ames, B. N. (1966). Assay of inorganic phosphate, total phosphate and phosphatases. Meth. Enzym. 8: 115–118Google Scholar
  2. Batley, G. E., Florence, T. M. (1976). Determination of chemical forms of dissolved cadmium, lead, and copper in seawater. Mar. Chem. 4: 347–363Google Scholar
  3. Batley, G. E., Gardner, D. (1978). A study of copper, lead and cadmium speciation in some estuarine and coastal marine waters. Estuar. cstl mar. Sci. 7: 59–70Google Scholar
  4. Bjerregaard, P., Vislie, T. (1985). Effects of mercury on ion and osmoregulation in the shore crab Carcinus maenas (L.). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 82C (1): 227–230Google Scholar
  5. Bjerregaard, P., Vislie, T. (1986). Effects of copper on ion-and osmoregulation in the shore crab Carcinus maenas. Mar. Biol. 91: 69–76Google Scholar
  6. Bradford, M. M. (1976). A rapid and sensitive method for quantitation of micrograms quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Analyt. Biochem. 72: 248–254Google Scholar
  7. Bryan, G. W. (1976). Heavy metal contamination in the sea. In: Johnston, R. (ed.) Marine pollution. Academic Press, London, p. 185–302Google Scholar
  8. Depledge, M. H. (1984). Disruption of circulatory and respiratory activity in the shore crab, Carcinus maenas (L.) exposed to heavy metal pollution. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 78C (2): 445–459Google Scholar
  9. Dhavale, D. M., Masurekar, V. B. (1988). Cadmium induced inhibition of Na,K-ATPase activity in the tissues of the crab, Scylla serrata (Forskal). Bull. envir. Contam. Toxic. 40: 759–763Google Scholar
  10. Florence, T. M., Batley, G. E. (1977). Determination of chemical forms of trace metals in natural waters, with special reference to copper, lead, cadmium and zinc. Talanta 2: 151–158Google Scholar
  11. Hansen, J. I., Mustafa, T. M., Depledge, M. (1992). Mechanisms of copper toxicity in the shore crab, Carcinus maenas. II. Effects on key metabolic enzymes, metabolites and energy charge potential. (Companion paper)Google Scholar
  12. Harris, R. R., Bayliss, D. (1988). Gill (Na+, K+)-ATPase activity in decapod crustacean: distribution and characteristics in relation to Na+-regulation. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 90A: 303–308Google Scholar
  13. Haya, K., Waiwood, B. A. (1983). Adenylate energy charge and ATPase activity: potential biochemical indicators of sublethal effects caused by pollutants in aquatic animals. In: Nriagu, J. O. (ed.) Aquatic toxicology 13. Wiley & Sons, New York, p. 307–333Google Scholar
  14. Hochachka, P. W. (1986). Defence strategies against hypoxia and hypothermia. Science, N. Y. 231: 234–241Google Scholar
  15. Jones, M. B. (1975). Synergistic effects of salinity, temperature and heavy metals on mortality and osmoregulation in marine and estuarine isopods (Crustacea). Mar. Biol. 30: 13–20Google Scholar
  16. Magnusson, B., Rasmussen, E. (1982). Trace metal levels in coastal sea water. Investigation of Danish waters. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 13: 81–84Google Scholar
  17. Mantoura, R. F., Dickson, A., Riley, J. P. (1978). The complexation of metals with humic materials in natural waters. Estuar. cstl mar. Sci. 6: 387–408Google Scholar
  18. McLusky, D. S., Bryant, V., Campbell, R. (1986). The effects of temperature and salinity on the toxicity of heavy metals to marine and estuarine invertebrates. Oceanogr. mar. Biol. A. Rev. 24: 481–520Google Scholar
  19. McLusky, D. S., Hagerman, L. (1987). The toxicity of chromium, nickel and zinc: effects of salinity and temperature, and the osmoregulatory consequences in the mysid Pranus flexuosus. Aquat. Toxic. 10 (4): 225–238Google Scholar
  20. Roesijadi, G., Petrocelli, S. R., Anderson, J. W., Presley, B. J., Sims, R. (1974). Survival and chloride ion regulation of the porcelain crab Petrolistis armatus exposed to mercury. Mar. Biol. 27: 213–217Google Scholar
  21. Shaw, J. (1961). Studies on ionic regulation in Carcinus maenas (L.) I. Sodium balance. J. exp. Biol. 38: 135–152Google Scholar
  22. Sokal, R. K., Rohlf, J. R. (1981) Biometry. The principles and practice of statistics in biological research, 2nd edn. Freeman & Co., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Thurberg, F. P., Dawson, M. A., Collier, R. S. (1973). Effects of copper and cadmium on osmoregulation and oxygen consumption in two species of estuarine crabs. Mar. Biol. 23: 171–175Google Scholar
  24. Zanders, I. P. (1980). Regulation of blood ions in Carcinus maenas (L.). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 65A: 97–108Google Scholar
  25. Weis, J. S., Weis, P. (1983). Intraspecific differences in susceptibility to toxicants due to short term or chronic preexposure. In: Nriagu, J. O. (ed.) Aquatic toxicology 13. Wiley & Sons, New York, p. 189–205Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Ivan Hansen
    • 1
  • Tariq Mustafa
    • 1
  • Michael Depledge
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyOdense UniversityOdense MDenmark

Personalised recommendations