TitleDifferential accumulation of heavy metals in the sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima as a function of symbiotic state
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsMitchelmore, CL, Verde, EA, Ringwood, AH, Weis, VM
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

The accumulation of metals by the North American Pacific Coast temperate sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima, and its dinoflagellate-algal symbiont Symbiodinium muscatinei was examined following laboratory metal exposures. Both, naturally occurring symbiotic and symbiont-free (aposymbiotic) anemones were used in this study to investigate differences in metal uptake due to the symbiotic state of the animal. The effects of metal exposures on the anemonealgal symbiosis were determined using measures of algal cell density and mitotic index (MI). Anemones were exposed to either cadmium, copper, nickel or zinc chloride (0, 10, 100 mug l(-1) for Cd, Cu and Ni; 0, 100, 1000 mug l(-1) for Zn) for 42 days followed by a 42-day recovery period in ambient seawater. Anemones were analyzed for metal content using inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) at various time points during the study. Symbiotic anemones accumulated Cd, Ni and Zn to a greater extent than aposymbiotic anemones. A dramatically different pattern of Cu accumulation was observed, with aposymbiotic anemones accumulating higher levels than symbiotic anemones. Following recovery in ambient seawater, all tissue metal levels were reduced to near pre-exposure control levels in most cases. No changes in algal cell density or MI were observed in symbiotic anemone tentacle clips at any dose or time point in the Cd and Cu exposures. However, significant reductions in algal cell densities were observed in the Ni-exposed and some Zn-exposed animals, although levels returned to control values following recovery. There were no changes in mitotic index (MI) following Ni or Zn exposures. These results demonstrate that the extent of heavy metal accumulation depends upon cnidarian symbiotic state and the heavy metal in question. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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