alexa Cosmopolitan biomonitors of trace metals
Agri and Aquaculture

Agri and Aquaculture

Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal

Author(s): Philip S Rainbow, David JH Phillips

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As employed here, the term biomonitors denotes those aquatic species which accumulate trace metals in their tissues and may therefore be analysed to monitor the bioavailability of such contaminants in riverine, estuarine or coastal ecosystems. This term is preferred to the alternatives (which include bio-indicators, sentinel organisms, and bioaccumulative indicators: see Goldberg et aL, 1978; Martin & Coughtrey, 1982; Hellawell, 1986), as it has been less mis-used and offers the least possibility of misinterpretation. The use of biomonitors to establish geographical and/or temporal variations in the bioavailable concentrations of trace elements in coastal and estuarine waters is now well-established (Phillips, 1980; Bryan et al., 1980, 1985; Phillips & Rainbow, 1993). Biomonitors provide time-integrated measures of the levels of available metals in their ambient waters, responding essentially only to the fraction of the total metal load present in the ecosystem that is of direct ecotoxicological relevance. In addition, biomonitors generally accumulate trace metals to high concentrations which may be relatively easily measured, with limited risk of sample contamination. Ideal biomonitors should also meet further selection criteria, these requiring that they should be sedentary; reasonably abundant at the sites of interest; easy to identify and sample; large enough for analysis; resistant to handling stress caused by laboratory studies or field transplantation; and tolerant of exposure to environmental variations in physicochemical parameters (Butler et al., 1971; Phillips, 1980). Importantly, biomonitors of trace elements should preferably be strong net accumulators of the metals of concern and should not regulate the total concentration of an element in the body tissues when exposed to different metal bioavailabilities

This article was published in Marine Pollution Bulletin and referenced in Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal

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