Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 17, pp 16640–16651 | Cite as

Screening of seaweeds in the East China Sea as potential bio-monitors of heavy metals

  • Yaoru Pan
  • Thomas Wernberg
  • Thibaut de Bettignies
  • Marianne Holmer
  • Ke Li
  • Jiaping Wu
  • Fang Lin
  • Yan Yu
  • Jiang Xu
  • Chaosheng Zhou
  • Zhixing Huang
  • Xi XiaoEmail author
Research Article


Seaweeds are good bio-monitors of heavy metal pollution and have been included in European coastal monitoring programs. However, data for seaweed species in China are scarce or missing. In this study, we explored the potential of seaweeds as bio-monitor by screening the natural occurring seaweeds in the “Kingdom of seaweed and shellfish” at Dongtou Islands, the East China Sea. Totally, 12 seaweed species were collected from six sites, with richness following the sequence of Rhodophyta > Phaeophyta > Chlorophyta. The concentration of heavy metals (Cu, Cr, Ni, Zn, Pb, Cd, As) in the seaweeds was determined, and the bioaccumulation coefficient was calculated. A combination of four seaweeds, Pachydictyon coriaceum, Gelidium divaricatum, Sargassum thunbergii, and Pterocladiella capillacea, were proposed as bio-monitors due to their high bioaccumulation capabilities of specific heavy metals in the East China Sea and hence hinted the importance of using seaweed community for monitoring of pollution rather than single species. Our results provide first-hand data for the selection of bio-monitor species for heavy metals in the East China Sea and contribute to selection of cosmopolitan bio-monitor communities over geographical large area, which will benefit the establishment of monitoring programs for coastal heavy metal contamination.


Seaweed Heavy metal East China Sea Richness Bio-monitor Bioaccumulation coefficient 



This study was supported by the National Key R and D Program of China (2016YFC1402104), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21677122), and the International Science and Technology Cooperation Program of China (2015DFA01410). We acknowledge Mr. Junyu He, Ph.D., candidate in Zhejiang University for his assistance in drawing Fig. 4.

Author contribution

Conceived and designed the analysis: X.X., T.W., and Y.P. Sampled and identified the seaweed: T.W., T.D., X.X., Y.P., K.L., F.L., J.W., and Y.Y. Wrote the paper: Y.P., X.X., M.H., and T.W. All authors analyzed, interpreted the results, and edited the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yaoru Pan
    • 1
  • Thomas Wernberg
    • 2
  • Thibaut de Bettignies
    • 3
  • Marianne Holmer
    • 4
  • Ke Li
    • 1
  • Jiaping Wu
    • 1
  • Fang Lin
    • 1
  • Yan Yu
    • 1
  • Jiang Xu
    • 5
  • Chaosheng Zhou
    • 6
  • Zhixing Huang
    • 6
  • Xi Xiao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Island and Coastal Ecosystem, Ocean CollegeZhejiang UniversityZhoushanChina
  2. 2.UWA Oceans Institute and School of Plant BiologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.Service du Patrimoine Naturel, Museum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  6. 6.Marine Aquaculture Research Institute of Zhejiang ProvinceWenzhouChina

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