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Contamination by Heavy Metals (Cd, Zn, Cu, and Hg) of Eight Fish Species in the Gironde Estuary (France)

Abstract : The Gironde estuary, one of the largest in Europe, is considered as a reference ecological system, with all the western European diadromous fish species present. The national biomonitoring program on the coastal marine environment has revealed since 1979 severe metal pollution (mostly cadmium [Cd]) in oysters collected from the estuary. No data are available on metal contamination levels in fish, despite their ecological and economic importance. We present the results from a detailed study based on 4 metals (Cd, zinc [Zn], opper [Cu], and mercury [Hg]) measured in 4 organs (gills, dorsal skeletal muscle, liver, and kidneys) from 8 fish species illustrating several ecological combinations: European eel (Anguilla anguilla), twaite shad (Alosa fallax), bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), meagre (Argyrosomus regius), flounder (Platichthys flesus), thinlipped grey mullet (Liza ramada), sole (Solea vulgaris), and Canary drum (Umbrina canariensis). The results show very marked differences between species and organs, as well as very significant variations between the 4 metals. Although metal concentrations measured in fish muscle are low, except in the case of Hg for the A. fallax, high levels of Cu and Cd were observed in the kidneys and livers of L. ramada and A. anguilla. A multifactorial analysis based on rank ordered metal concentrations for the 8 fish species clearly shows 4 clusters of species assigned to the different degrees of metal contamination, from the lowest contaminated (A. regius, D. labrax, S. vulgaris, and U. canariensis) to the most contaminated group (L. ramada). The most contaminated species (L. ramada, A. anguilla, and P. flesus) are characterized by long residence times in the estuary, between 3.5 and 14 yr. For L. ramada, biofilms with high metal storage capacities would be the principal uptake route; the two other species are benthic with a carnivorous regime. Comparisons between our data and four estuaries (Seine, France; Mersey, U.K.; La Plata, Argentina; Guadalquivir, Spain), on a limited number of common species, metals and fish organs, clearly reveal higher Cd bioaccumulation levels in the Gironde estuary.
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Submitted on : Friday, May 15, 2020 - 11:47:11 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - 9:54:01 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02587049, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00018359



G. Durrieu, R. Maury Brachet, Michel Girardin, Eric Rochard, A. Boudou. Contamination by Heavy Metals (Cd, Zn, Cu, and Hg) of Eight Fish Species in the Gironde Estuary (France). Estuaries, Estuaries, 2005, 28 (4), pp.581-591. ⟨hal-02587049⟩



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