Marine Biology

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 265–276 | Cite as

Toxicity evaluation of a complex metal mixture to the softshell clam Mya arenaria

  • R. Eisler


Adults of the softshell clam Mya arenaria were continuously subjected to a flowing raw seawater solution containing a mixture of salts of manganese, zinc, lead, nickel, copper, and cadmium. Final calculated concentrations, in μg l-1, of the toxicant solution were 7200 Mn, 2500 Zn, 70 Pb, 50 Ni, 50 Cu and 1 Cd; these concentrations approximated highest measured levels within surficial interstitial sediment waters from mid-Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. M. arenaria were also subjected to a 20% solution, i.e., 1440 Mn, 500 Zn, 14 Pb, 10 Ni, 10 Cu, and 0.2 μg l-1 Cd. One study was conducted for 112 days in winter at 0° to 10°C and another for 16 days in summer at 16° to 22°C. In the winter study, all clams exposed to a 100% solution died between the 4th and 10th week; soft parts of survivors at 6 weeks contained about 19 times more Pb, 15 x more Zn, 12 x more Cu, 10 x more Mn, 3 x more Ni and 0.1 x more Cd than controls; relatively minor changes in whole body elemental content of Ca, Cr, Fe, K, Mg, Na, Sr, and V were observed. Clams exposed to a 20% solution during winter survived the 112 day study; at that time these contained about 5 x more Cu, 4 x more Mn, 3 x more Zn and about 2 x more Pb than controls; comparatively minor changes were observed in other elements examined. In the summer study, all M. arenaria subjected to the 100% solution died between 6 and 14 days; survivors from this group at 7 days contained about 25 x more Pb, 13 x more Cu, 11 x more Zn, 7 x more Mn, and 3 x more Ni than controls; other changes in elemental content were not as pronounced. Mortality in the 20% group during summer was slightly higher than controls during the 16 day study; at 14 days survivors from this group contained about 12 x more Mn, 7 x more Pb, 7 x more Zn, 4 x more Cu, and 3 x more Ni than controls. Survival and bioaccumulation patterns were not altered through feeding a supplemental diet of algae. The significance of these findings are discussed in terms of potential environmental perturbations, especially local dredging practices.


Cadmium Supplemental Diet Bioaccumulation Elemental Content Soft Part 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Eisler
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Research LaboratoryU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyNarragansettUSA

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