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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting Charleston South Carolina March 8-12, 1999--Volume 2 of 3--Contamination of Hydrologic Systems and Related Ecosystems, Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018B

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Metal trends and effects in Potamocorbula amurensis in North San Francisco Bay

By Cynthia L. Brown and Samuel N. Luoma

This paper is available in pdf format: pdf Brown.pdf


Long-term, multi-disciplined field sampling was used to assess both the fate and effects of trace metals in northern San Francisco Bay. Bioaccumulation in the bivalve Potamocorbula amurensis was measured at near-monthly intervals between 1990 and 1997. Three accumulation patterns were detected. One pattern indicates that biological regulation of Cu and Zn is an important control on tissue concentrations. This was evident by the absence of persistent spatial or temporal trends in the tissue concentrations of Cu or Zn, and the correlation of Cu and Zn tissue concentrations with the weight of the clam. The pattern in Cr, Ni, and V tissue concentrations was related to the combined influences of riverine inputs and local industrial inputs. Seasonally, the highest tissue concentrations of Cr, Ni, and V coincided with high delta inflows. Cadmium and Ag tissue concentrations were not clearly related to any obvious source. However, they were linked inversely to condition index, glycogen content, reproductive status, and histopathology. The histopathological changes are biomarkers indicative specifically of contaminant stress.

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