Evaluating trace element bioavailability and potential transfer into marine food chains using immobilised diatom model species Phaeodactylum tricornutum , on King George Island, Antarctica
In order to evaluate trace element bioavailability and potential transfer into marine food chains in human impacted areas of the Fildes Peninsula (King George Island, South Shetland Islands Archipelago), element levels (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb) were determined in water, sediments, phytoplankton, and in diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin (Bacillariophyceae) cells immobilised in alginate and exposed to water and sediments, from the Bellingshausen Dome (reference site) and Ardley Cove (human impacted area), during January 2014. High element concentrations in exposed P. tricornutum indicated element mobilisation from sediments into the water. Levels in exposed cells reflected the sediment element content pattern, comparable to those found in phytoplankton, supporting phytoplankton as an important path of trace element entry into marine food chains. This study clearly shows immobilised P. tricornutum as good proxy of phytoplankton concerning element accumulation efficiency, and an effective tool to monitor trace element contamination in polar coastal ecosystems.
Authors: Cabrita, Maria Teresa, Padeiro, Ana, Amaro, Eduardo, dos Santos, Margarida Correia, Leppe, Marcelo, Verkulich, Sergey, Hughes, Kevin A., Peter, Hans-Ulrich, Canário, João