Effects of sediment acidification on the bioaccumulation of Zn in R. Philippinarum

Acidification resulting from the increase of carbon dioxide in the ocean is one of the main effects of global warming. Models predict that a decrease of pH in surface sediments results in higher mobility of metals in sediment pore water and overlying water. This hypothesis has been tested in an exposure sediment bioassay using the clam R. philippinarum. Different sediment samples (toxic mud from a mining spill; estuarine samples from the Ria de Huelva and Guadalquivir rivers, and sediments located in the Bay of Cadiz, all in Spain) were used to address the influence of pH values (6.5–8.5) in bioaccumulation of the metal Zn. Results show that there is a significant (p < 0.05) increase in bioaccumulation of this metal at lower values of pH (6.5 and 7.5) compared to the 8.5 value. These results indicate that modification of one unit in pH produces a significant effect in Zn bioavailability, which is also associated with adverse biological effects such us mortality. The results point out the importance of addressing the influence of sediment acidification and their implications in risk assessment in estuarine sediments or in special areas selected for carbon dioxide capture in marine environments.

Riba I., García-Luque E., Kalman J., Blasco J., & Vale, C., Effects of Sediment Acidification on the Bioaccumulation of Zn in R. Philippinarum. In: Duarte P. & Santana-Casiano J. M. (Eds.), Oceans and the Atmospheric Carbon Content, pp. 115-132. Berlin: Springer. Book chapter (subscription required).

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