Monitoring Hg and Cd Contamination Using Red Swamp Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii): Implications for Wetland Food Chain Contamination
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Environmental pollution is one of the most serious causes of degradation of Mediterranean wetlands. Mercury (Hg) and cadmium (Cd) are of particular concern due to biomagnification. Here, we used red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) to monitor the spatial and temporal patterns of these two metals in a Portuguese rice field system. We sampled the crayfish in three different sites and three different time periods in the Sado River Basin (Portugal). We measured temperature, pH, total dissolved solids and conductivity in the water. Hg and Cd were measured in the crayfish abdominal muscle tissue and exoskeleton. In muscle, a spatial pattern was found for the accumulation of Cd while for Hg, only a temporal pattern emerged. The spatial pattern for Cd seemed to reflect the mining history of the sites, whereas the temporal pattern for Hg seemed related to the flooding of rice fields. We suggest that this flooding process increases Hg bioavailability.
KeywordsEcological indicator Bioaccumulation Toxicity Trace elements
This work was performed with financial support from the CQE/IST and LNEG. We are grateful to Dr. Sheila Alves and Filomena Mouro for the lab assistance. A special and grateful thanks to Paula Tavares who motivated this work, participating in its design and in the field work, but who unfortunately did not live to see it published; without her, this work would never be done. Cristina Branquinho acknowledges Investigador FCT contract.
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