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Occasional Publications of the Marine Biological Association No. 1


The Use of Biological Indicators of Heavy Metal Contamination in Estuaries 

Cover of publication[Added May 2003]

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Full reference:
Bryan, G.W., Langston, W.J. and Hummerstone, L.G. (1980) The use of biological indicators of heavy metal contamination in estuaries. Occasional Publications. Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (1) 73p.

The use of the deposit-feeding molluscs Scrobicularia plana and Macoma balthica and the burrowing polychaete Nereis diversicolor as indicators of the biological availability of heavy metals in sediments has been evaluated.  Concentrations of Ag, As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sn and Zn have been measured in organisms and sediments from more than 30 estuaries in south west England and South Wales and indicate that the biological availability of most metals varies by order of magnitude between uncontaminated and contaminated sites.  The results have been compared with those obtained with the use of other species of indicator organisms in estuaries.