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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 52, Issue 2–3, pp 221–233 | Cite as

Effects of mine drainage on the river hayle, cornwall a) factors affecting concentrations of copper, zinc and iron in water, sediments and dominant invertebrate fauna

  • Barbara E. Brown
Article

Abstract

Concentrations of copper, zinc and iron were measured in waters, sediments and invertebrates collected from the River Hayle. In river water at least 70% of copper and iron was associated with the ‘particulate’ fraction whereas 80% of zinc was in the ‘soluble’ form. Although total concentrations of zinc in water exceeded those of copper approximately ten fold, copper predominated over zinc in the sediments by a factor of approximately three. Iron was the most abundant metal recorded in both water and sediments.

Seasonal differences in ‘total’ metal content of waters suggested that concentrations of copper, zinc and iron increased during. periods of high flow and decreased during lower flows. Copper concentrations in the sediment, unlike zinc and iron, showed markedly higher values during the summer sampling period when flows were minimal.

In the ‘free-living’ Trichoptera larvae, concentrations of copper and zinc in the tissue appeared to follow copper and zinc levels in the water. Similar relationships in Odonata and Plecoptera larvae were not obtained. Factors affecting animal/metal relationships are discussed with particular reference to adaptation shown by organisms exposed to high concentrations of heavy metals in their environment.

Keywords

heavy metals mine drainage animal/metal relationships 

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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b. v. Publishers 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara E. Brown

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