The influence of sedimentation on metal accumulation and cellular oxidative stress markers in the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica

Doris.Abele [ at ]


Recent rapid climate warming at the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) results in elevated glacial melting, enhanced sedimentary run-off, increased turbidity and impact of ice-scouring in shallow coastal areas. Discharge of mineral suspension from volcanic bedrock ablation and chronic physical disturbance are anticipated to influence sessile filter feeders such as the Antarctic soft shell clam Laternula elliptica (King and Broderip 1831). We investigated effects of sedimentary run-off on the accumulation of trace metals, and together with physical disturbance, the cumulative effect on oxidative stress parameters in younger and older L. elliptica from two stations in Potter Cove (King George Island, Antarctica) which are distinctly impacted by turbidity and ice-scouring. Fe, Mn, Sr, V and Zn concentrations were slightly higher in sediments of the station receiving more sediment run-off, but not enriched in bivalves of this station. The only element that increased in bivalves experimentally exposed to sediment suspension for 28 days was Mn. Concentration of the waste accumulation biomarker lipofuscin in nervous tissue was higher in L. elliptica from the “exposed” compared to the “less exposed” site, whereas protein carbonyl levels in bivalve mantle tissue were higher at the less sediment impacted site. Tissue metal content and lipofuscin in nervous tissue was generally higher in older compared to younger individuals from both field stations. We conclude that elevated sediment ablation does not per se result in higher metal accumulation in L. elliptica. Instead of direct absorbance from sediment particles, metal accumulation in gills seems to indicate uptake of compounds dissolved in the water column whereas metals in digestive gland appear to originate from enriched planktonic or detritic food. Accumulation of cellular waste products and potentially reactive metals over lifetime presumably alters Laternula elliptica physiological performance with age and may contribute to higher stress susceptibility in older animals.

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DOI 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.06.003

Cite as
Husmann, G. , Abele, D. , Monien, D. , Monien, P. , Kriews, M. and Philipp, E. (2012): The influence of sedimentation on metal accumulation and cellular oxidative stress markers in the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica , Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 111 , pp. 48-59 . doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.06.003

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