Berry, Kathryn L. E., Seemann, Janina, Dellwig, Olaf, Struck, Ulrich, Wild, Christian and Leinfelder, Reinhold R. (2013) Sources and spatial distribution of heavy metals in scleractinian coral tissues and sediments from the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 185 (11). pp. 9089-9099. DOI

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Marine ecosystems worldwide are threatened by aquatic pollution; however, there is a paucity in data from the Caribbean region. As such, five heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, copper, zinc, mercury) were measured in tissues of the scleractinian corals Porites furcata and Agaricia tenuifolia and in adjacent sediments in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama. Samples were collected from five reef sites along a gradient of distance from an international shipping port and were analysed using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry and atomic absorption spectrophotometry for mercury. Copper and zinc were the most abundant metals and ranged from 11 to 63 mg kg−1 and from 31 to 185 mg kg−1 in coral tissues, respectively. The highest concentration of each metal was measured in P. furcata tissues, with copper and mercury concentrations significantly higher in P. furcata than in A. tenuifolia at every site. These results suggest that P. furcata has a higher affinity for metal accumulation and storage than A. tenuifolia. With the exception of cadmium, metal concentrations in coral tissues were generally elevated at coral reefs in closer proximity to the port; however, this pattern was not observed in sediments. Hard coral cover was lowest at reefs in closest proximity to the port, suggesting that metal pollution from port-related activities is influencing hard coral abundance at nearby coral reefs.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0167-6369
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2019 16:59
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:59

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