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Field contamination of the starfish Asterias rubens by metals. Part 1: short- and long-term accumulation along a pollution gradient
Coteur, G.; Pernet, P.; Gillan, D.; Joly, G.; Maage, A.; Dubois, P. (2003). Field contamination of the starfish Asterias rubens by metals. Part 1: short- and long-term accumulation along a pollution gradient. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 22(9): 2136-2144.
In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Setac Press: New York. ISSN 0730-7268; e-ISSN 1552-8618, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Asterias rubens Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Echinodermata [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    heavy metal contamination; Asterias rubens; echinoderms; salinity;Sorfjord

Authors  Top 
  • Coteur, G.
  • Pernet, P., more
  • Gillan, D., more
  • Joly, G., more
  • Maage, A.
  • Dubois, P., more

    The accumulation of Cd, Pb, Zn, and Cu in the starfish Asterias rubens was studied in a Norwegian fjord characterized by a gradient of metal pollution in the sediments, ranging from very high metal concentrations at its head to much lower levels at its opening. The concentrations of metals in starfish from natural populations along the gradient (long-term accumulation) and in starfish that were transferred up the gradient (short-term accumulation) were compared. At long-term, Cd and Pb accumulations by starfish living at normal salinity (30‰) were related to the level of contamination of of the environment while Cu and, to a lesser extent, Zn accumulations appeared strictly controlled. At short-term, Pb was accumulated steadily, Cd and Zn were accumulated transiently in the pyloric caeca (fast compartment), and Cu was not accumulated at all. Depuration experiments (transfer down the gradient) showed that Cd and Pb were efficiently eliminated from the pyloric caeca but not from the body wall (slow compartment). It is concluded that Pb is chronically accumulated, without apparent control, Cd is subjected to a regulating mechanism in the pyloric caeca which is overwhelmed over the long-term; Zn is tightly controlled in the pyloric caeca and Cu in both pyloric caeca and body wall. A distinct color variety of starfish is restricted to the low salinity (22-26‰) superficial water layer. This variety showed a different pattern of metal accumulation over the long-term. This pattern is attributed to the particular hydrological conditions prevailing in this upper layer.

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