, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 263–271

Combined Toxicity of Dissolved Mercury With Copper, Lead and Cadmium on Embryogenesis and Early Larval Growth of the Paracentrotus Lividus Sea-Urchin


DOI: 10.1023/A:1016703116830

Cite this article as:
Fernández, N. & Beiras, R. Ecotoxicology (2001) 10: 263. doi:10.1023/A:1016703116830


The individual and combined toxicity of dissolved mercury, copper, lead and cadmium has been investigated by using the Paracentrotus lividus sea-urchin embryo-larval bioassay. Embryogenesis success and early larval growth have been recorded after incubation of fertilised eggs in seawater, both with single metals and binary combinations of Hg with every other metal. For individual metals the ranking of toxicity was Hg > Cu > Pb > Cd, with EC50 values of 21.9, 66.8, 509 and 9240 μg/l, respectively. Lowest observed effect concentrations (LOEC) for early larval growth were approximately three times lower than the EC50 values for Hg, Cu and Pb, and more than two orders of magnitude lower for Cd, emphasizing the danger of underestimating toxicity when only lethal effects are recorded. Marking & Dawson's additive indices ranged from 0.10 to 0.19, indicating additive effects with a slight trend to synergism, which was statistically significant for the Hg–Pb combination only. Hayes' additive indices were within the margins considered acceptable to describe additive interactions.

toxicity testsea-urchinmercurytrace metalsinteractionembryogenesislarval growth

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía AnimalUniversidade de VigoVigoGalicia
  2. 2.Departamento de Ecoloxía e Bioloxía AnimalUniversidade de VigoVigoGalicia