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Copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), and chromium (Cr) in soft tissues of male and female burrowing crab Neohelice granulate, as well as their eggs, were measured in two different locations in the Bahía Blanca estuary, a moderately polluted ecosystem, from October 2008 to August 2009. Differences between sexes, sites, and seasonality were assessed. Furthermore, metal levels in eggs were compared with metal levels in female crabs. The results showed no significant differences for Cu and Cd between sexes (Student t test p > 0.25 for both sites) and sites (two-way analysis of variance: Cu p = 0.82 and Cd p = 0.29). Nevertheless, seasonality was found, with winter having significantly lower concentrations for both metals. The range of Cu concentrations was between 96.92 and 152.18 μg g(-1) dry weight (dw), and the range of Cd concentrations was between 6.09 and 10.41 μg g(-1) dw. Cr concentrations could not be assessed because most of the values were lower than the detection limit. Although heavy metals in sediments were not measured in this study, a bioaccumulation process may be occurring for Cd because levels found during the entire sampling period were greater than levels in sediment from previous years. For Cu, a regulation process may be occurring considering that this is an essential metal and levels of Cu in N. granulata found in this study were between 1 and 2 orders of magnitude greater than levels in sediments. Finally, Cu and Cd levels in eggs were detectable, but they were lower than levels in female crabs. The importance of these findings is linked to the fact that metal accumulation seems to be occurring before hatch. The presence of heavy metals in soft tissues as well as in eggs of N. granulata is of great importance considering that this is a key species within the Bahía Blanca estuary; therefore, it plays a major role in the transference of pollutants to greater trophic levels.
Área de Oceanografía Química, Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía, CCT-CONICET, Camino La Carrindanga, km 7.5, B8000FWB, Bahía Blanca, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology
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