TitleUptake and partitioning of copper and cadmium in the coral Pocillopora damicornis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMitchelmore, CL, Verde, EA, Weis, VM
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Coral-reef ecosystems are increasingly being impacted by a wide variety of anthropogenic inputs, including heavy metals, which could be contributing to coral reef stress and bleaching episodes. Fragments of Pocillopora damicornis were exposed in the laboratory to cadmium (Cd) or copper (Cu) chlorides (0, 5, 50 mu g l(-1)) for 14 days and analyzed for metal content in the whole association, algal or animal fractions. Various physiological and biochemical parameters were also measured, such as, algal cell counts, mitotic index, chlorophyll content and levels of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH). Cd and Cu accumulation were observed at all time points and doses; there was no evidence of differential metal partitioning between the algal or animal fractions. No changes in algal cell density, mitotic index or chlorophyll content from the controls were observed in any of the metal treatments. GSH levels were significantly higher in the 5 mu g l(-1) Cd (Day 4) and Cu (Days 4 and 14) treatments compared with controls at the same time point. Although no evidence of a bleaching response occurred, corals in both 50 mu g l(-1) metal exposures sloughed off tissues and did not survive the duration of the exposure period. Our results demonstrate the accumulation of Cd and Cu in P damicornis and mortality in the absence of a bleaching response. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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