Important anthropogenic inputs of copper into the ocean include urban sewage sludge dumping, runoff from copper mines and antifouling paints . Copper is an essential element for animals, especially decapods, gastropods and cephalopods need copper in their respiratory pigment hemocyanin. Hemocyanin is a protein which (like hemoglobin) binds oxygen to transport it to the tissues.
Copper is however also one of the most toxic metals to a wide spectrum of marine life . Copper concentrations between 1 and 10µg/l can seriously affect a large number of marine organisms. These concentrations have lethal effects on scallops, clams and isopods, while other species are protected by copper binding metallothioneins .
Case studiesThe relation between pollutants and disease in guillemots
- www.wikipedia.org July 31 2009
- Kennish, M. J. (1996): Practical Handbook of Estuarine and Marine Pollution, CRC Press 524 pp
- Clark, R,B., 1999. Marine pollution. Oxford University press, Fourth edition, pp 161