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Environ Toxicol. 2006 Oct;21(5):489-504.

Acute toxicity and bioaccumulation of aqueous and sediment-bound metals in the estuarine amphipod Melita plumulosa.

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  • 1Centre for Environmental Contaminants Research, CSIRO Land and Water, Private Mailbag 7, Bangor, New South Wales 2234, Australia.


The sensitivities of juvenile and adult amphipods to metals (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) in whole sediment and water-only exposures were compared using a newly developed acute test with the estuarine species Melita plumulosa. Endpoints included survival and bioaccumulation in adults, and survival and growth (body length) in juveniles over 96 h water-only and 10 day sediment exposures. Juveniles were more sensitive than adults to metals, either bound to sediments or in the aqueous phase. Although LOEC values for copper and zinc in juvenile whole-sediment tests (820 and 2290 mg/kg dry weight, respectively) were high in comparison with interim sediment quality guideline values for individual metals (270 and 410 for copper and zinc respectively), they were generally within the range of concentrations found in contaminated sediments in local estuaries. Accumulation of metals, together with the low porewater metal concentrations in whole-sediment tests, indicated that the ingestion of sediment is an important source of zinc and copper and cause of toxicity in this species.

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