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In situ microcosms to study the impact of heavy metals resuspended by dredging on periphyton in a tropical estuary
Nayar, S.; Goh, B.P.L.; Chou, L.M.; Reddy, S. (2003). In situ microcosms to study the impact of heavy metals resuspended by dredging on periphyton in a tropical estuary. Aquat. Toxicol. 64(3): 293-306
In: Aquatic Toxicology. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0166-445X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Cadmium; Copper; Ecotoxicology; Lead; Nickel; Tin; Zinc; Marine

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  • Nayar, S., correspondent
  • Goh, B.P.L.
  • Chou, L.M.
  • Reddy, S.

    Ponggol estuary, located on the northeastern coast of Singapore, is heavily impacted by reclamation, dredging, construction and shipping. Tin, lead, nickel, cadmium, copper and zinc in the particulate and dissolved fraction and in sediments were monitored biweekly in the estuary from July 1999 to June 2000. The concentrations of tin, lead, nickel, cadmium, copper and zinc were observed to range from ND-92 ppm, ND-303 ppm, ND-2818 ppm, ND-74 ppm, ND-1117 ppm and ND-137000 ppm, respectively, in the dissolved, particulate and sediments fractions. Intensive dredging activity occurred during the monitoring period, and this may have led to the resuspension and increased bioavailability of particulate metals. Periphytic algae were established on glass slides and exposed to previously measured environmental levels of heavy metals using in situ estuarine microcosms. The toxicity of heavy metals in various fractions to periphytic algae was assessed from the changes in their chlorophyll a content. Cadmium had the least significant effect followed by lead, zinc, nickel, tin and copper at all concentrations tested. A reduction in periphyton biomass (with respect to controls) of 95-100% was observed for treatments with metals in particulate form. In addition, exposure to contaminated sediments for 3 days significantly decreased chlorophyll a by 90-99% compared to controls. High concentrations of zinc (9893-17240 mg l-1), copper (5-11 mg l-1) and cadmium (1-1.8 mg l-1) recorded in the aqueous phase of treatment microcosms, and attributed to release from the contaminated sediments, could account for the toxicity to periphyton.

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