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Definition of zinc:
Zinc is the heavy metal with symbol Zn and atomic number 30[1]. It is brittle and has a bluish-white colour. It becomes coated with a corrosion-resistant layer in moist air[2].
This is the common definition for zinc, other definitions can be discussed in the article


Zinc © Greg Robson

Zinc concentrations are much higher in highly polluted industrialized coastal areas, like the North Sea (up to 70µg/l), than in the open ocean (0,1µg/l)[3]. Zinc usually enters the marine environment through effluents from smelters and mining sites.

Zinc tends to be bioaccumulated by bivalves. Especially oysters contain large amounts of zinc, in the highly contaminated English Restronguet Creek they contain zinc concentrations above 10.000 µg/g dry weight. However, like most heavy metals zinc doesn't tend to biomagnify, so that it causes little harm to sea birds or marine mammals. [3]

Case studies

The relation between pollutants and disease in guillemots

Heavy metal content of mussels in the Western Scheldt estuary

Common starfish can act as a bioindicator for heavy metal pollution

Heavy metals in various Belgian benthic invertebrates

See also

Zinc on the ED North Database


  1. www.wikipedia.org July 24 2009
  2. www.glossary.eea.europa.eu July 24 2009
  3. 3,0 3,1 Kennish, M. J. (1996): Practical Handbook of Estuarine and Marine Pollution, CRC Press 524 pp