Original Research

A comparative study of the accumulation of metals in the barnacle (Tetraclita serrata) and the black mussel (Choromytilis meridionalis) in False Bay, South Africa

Adriaan J. Reinecke, Sophia A. Reinecke, Naomi P. Mdzeke
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 33, No 1 | a1181 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v33i1.1181 | © 2014 Adriaan J. Reinecke, Sophia A. Reinecke, Naomi P. Mdzeke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 June 2014 | Published: 13 November 2014

About the author(s)

Adriaan J. Reinecke, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Sophia A. Reinecke, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Naomi P. Mdzeke, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

The development of methods to monitor the South African coastal waters offer major challenges. Knowledge and availability of suitable species that may serve as biomonitors will be valuable to obtain information to support good management decisions. It is therefore important to identify local species that show the basic characteristics required for biomonitoring. The aim of this study was to compare, as part of a wider seasonal field study of metals in the intertidal zone of False Bay, South Africa, the body loads of copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and zinc (Zn) in the black mussel (C. meridionalis) and the barnacle (T. serrata), and to compare these with environmental concentrations. Also to draw conclusions about the animals’ relative abilities to accumulate priority metals. Specimens of both species were collected over several seasons at different points in False Bay and analysed chemically. The mean body load (soft tissue and shell) of metals was higher in the black mussel than in the barnacle during all seasons. A comparison between the body loads and environmental concentrations in water and sediment showed that the priority metals Cd, Ni and Pb are accumulated strongly by both C. meridionalis and T. serrata. The mean Cd body loads varied between 6.43 µg/g and 14.73 µg/g for the various seasons but was not statistically significantly different between seasons. Metal concentrations were in most cases highest during winter. Multiple regression analysis showed a strong correlation between body load of metals in the black mussel and the environmental concentration for most seasons, which indicates that the black mussel can be useful as an active rather than a passive biomonitor. The concept of biomonitoring has merit because it may show long-term tendencies, but it does not offer an absolute measure of immediate, varying pollution levels. It could serve as an additional management tool in a national marine programme for the protection of the intertidal zone’s biodiversity.

Keywords

Mussels; Barnacles; Metal accumulation; Biomonitoring

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