Mapping the ecological impact of heavy metals on the estuarine polychaete Nereis diversicolor using inherited metal tolerance

Alastair Grant, Jonathan G. Hateley, Neville V. Jones

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Tolerance to copper and zinc in the polychaete Nereis diversicolor is inherited. This makes it possible to use the occurrence of metal tolerant individuals to map the ecological impact of contamination by these metals. In the chronically contaminated Restronguet Creek, Cornwall, the effect of zinc is restricted to an area within 1 km of the head of the estuary. The impact of copper is also greatest near the head of the estuary and becomes negligible by the estuary mouth. Sediment levels of more than 1000 μ.g-1 copper and 3500 μ.g-1 zinc can be of no ecological significance for this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-238
Number of pages4
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1989

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