Influence of Long-Term Exposure to Background Pollution on the Response and Recovery of the Invasive Species Corbicula fluminea to Ammonia Sub-lethal Stress: a Multi-marker Approach with Field Estuarine Populations

  • Sónia Costa
  • Lúcia Guilhermino


The influence of long-term exposure to background pollution on the response and recovery of the invasive species Corbicula fluminea to ammonia stress was investigated using a multi-marker approach. Wild clams of the tidal freshwater areas of two estuaries of the NW Iberian coast with different levels of pollution, the estuaries of Minho river (reference) and of Lima river (contaminated), were collected and exposed individually to different treatments: 8 and 14 days in dechlorinated tap water (DTW), 8 and 14 days in 1 mg L−1 of ammonia (AM), and 8 days in AM followed by 6 days in DTW. After each defined time (0, 8, and 14 days), the clams were sacrificed and the activity of the enzymes glutathione S-transferase (GST), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), cholinesterase (ChE), octopine dehydrogenase (ODH), and the lipid peroxidation (LPO) levels were used as effect criteria. At the beginning of the bioassay, the clams from the polluted estuary presented significantly higher background levels of GST, CAT, GR, GPx, and LPO than those from the reference one indicating long-term exposure to oxidative stressors. In general, C. fluminea from both estuaries presented little sensibility to ammonia with no significant differences found between exposed and control clams for most of the biomarkers. That low sensibility of C. fluminea could be seen as advantageous for its invasion ability.


Ammonia Corbicula fluminea Invasive species Biomarkers Oxidative stress 



This study was carried out in the scope of the project NISTRACKS (reference PTDC/AAC-AMB/102121/2008; FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-008556) and PEst-C/MAR/LA0015/2013 supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Programme and national funds through Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). The study was also supported by funds of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Abel Salazar, attributed to the Department of Populations Studies and to the Laboratory of Ecotoxicology in particular and by the project ECORISK (reference NORTE-07-0124-FEDER-000054), co-financed by the North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (ON.2-O Novo Norte) under the National Strategic Reference Framework through the European Regional Development Fund. Sónia Costa had a post-doc fellowship in the scope of the NISTACKS (ECOTOXLAB/PTDC/AAA-AMB/102121/2008/BPD/2012-032) project and has presently a post-doc fellowship from ECORISK (NORTE-07-0124-FEDER-000055-BPD-2013-04).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR), Research Group of Ecotoxicology, Stress Ecology and Environmental HealthUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.ICBAS-Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Abel Salazar, Department of Populations Studies, Laboratory of EcotoxicologyUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal

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