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Biomonitoring Heavy Metal Pollution Using an Aquatic Apex Predator, the American Alligator, and Its Parasites.

Tellez M, Merchant M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Interestingly, Fe levels were significantly greater in intestinal trematodes than their alligator hosts when analyzed independently from other parasitic taxa.Interestingly, parasitic abundance decreased as levels of As increased.Conclusively, we suggest that parasites, particularly intestinal trematodes, are superior biomagnifiers of As, Cu, Se, and Zn, whereas alligators are likely good biological indicators of Fe, Cd, and Pb levels within the environment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Marine Science Institute, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Monitoring the bioaccumulation of chemical elements within various organismal tissues has become a useful tool to survey current or chronic levels of heavy metal exposure within an environment. In this study, we compared the bioaccumulations of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, Se, and Zn between the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, and its parasites in order to establish their use as bioindicators of heavy metal pollution. Concomitant with these results, we were interested to determine if parasites were more sensitive bioindicators of heavy metals relative to alligators. We found parasites collectively accumulated higher levels of As, Cu, Se, and Zn in comparison to their alligator hosts, whereas Fe, Cd, and Pb concentrations were higher in alligators. Interestingly, Fe levels were significantly greater in intestinal trematodes than their alligator hosts when analyzed independently from other parasitic taxa. Further analyses showed alligator intestinal trematodes concentrated As, Cu, Fe, Se, and Zn at significantly higher levels than intestinal nematodes and parasites from other organs. However, pentastomids also employed the role as a good biomagnifier of As. Interestingly, parasitic abundance decreased as levels of As increased. Stomach and intestinal nematodes were the poorest bioaccumulators of metals, yet stomach nematodes showed their ability to concentrate Pb at orders of magnitude higher in comparison to other parasites. Conclusively, we suggest that parasites, particularly intestinal trematodes, are superior biomagnifiers of As, Cu, Se, and Zn, whereas alligators are likely good biological indicators of Fe, Cd, and Pb levels within the environment.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Comparative data of the total heavy metal concentration from an individual alligator from Iberville, Louisiana from the 2011 SELA alligator harvest.
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pone.0142522.g003: Comparative data of the total heavy metal concentration from an individual alligator from Iberville, Louisiana from the 2011 SELA alligator harvest.

Mentions: Amid the previous heavy metal studies of fish-parasite systems, the accumulation and response of parasites to environmental pollution is relatively rapid in comparison to its host [19]. Our data showed many examples of high metal bioaccumulations in parasites, particularly among intestinal trematodes, in comparison to alligators. For instance, comparative data from Iberville, Louisiana (SELA) during the 2011 harvest illustrated the combined levels of heavy metals were very high among trematodes, whereas the collective accumulation of heavy metals among hosts were low (Fig 3). In agreement with previous theory [19], this example may reflect acute discharge of heavy metals into the environment. In contrast, alligators from Lake Loochloosa, FL were found to have higher heavy metal accumulation relative to their parasites in 2011 and 2012 (Fig 4). Accordingly, this data may reflect the overall low or chronic release of these metals into the environment. Hence, the comparison of metal accumulation between parasites and alligators can potentially reveal cryptic data about the acute and chronic chemical state of the environment, which can help establish the necessary management to counteract environmental pollution.


Biomonitoring Heavy Metal Pollution Using an Aquatic Apex Predator, the American Alligator, and Its Parasites.

Tellez M, Merchant M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Comparative data of the total heavy metal concentration from an individual alligator from Iberville, Louisiana from the 2011 SELA alligator harvest.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4640838&req=5

pone.0142522.g003: Comparative data of the total heavy metal concentration from an individual alligator from Iberville, Louisiana from the 2011 SELA alligator harvest.
Mentions: Amid the previous heavy metal studies of fish-parasite systems, the accumulation and response of parasites to environmental pollution is relatively rapid in comparison to its host [19]. Our data showed many examples of high metal bioaccumulations in parasites, particularly among intestinal trematodes, in comparison to alligators. For instance, comparative data from Iberville, Louisiana (SELA) during the 2011 harvest illustrated the combined levels of heavy metals were very high among trematodes, whereas the collective accumulation of heavy metals among hosts were low (Fig 3). In agreement with previous theory [19], this example may reflect acute discharge of heavy metals into the environment. In contrast, alligators from Lake Loochloosa, FL were found to have higher heavy metal accumulation relative to their parasites in 2011 and 2012 (Fig 4). Accordingly, this data may reflect the overall low or chronic release of these metals into the environment. Hence, the comparison of metal accumulation between parasites and alligators can potentially reveal cryptic data about the acute and chronic chemical state of the environment, which can help establish the necessary management to counteract environmental pollution.

Bottom Line: Interestingly, Fe levels were significantly greater in intestinal trematodes than their alligator hosts when analyzed independently from other parasitic taxa.Interestingly, parasitic abundance decreased as levels of As increased.Conclusively, we suggest that parasites, particularly intestinal trematodes, are superior biomagnifiers of As, Cu, Se, and Zn, whereas alligators are likely good biological indicators of Fe, Cd, and Pb levels within the environment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Marine Science Institute, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Monitoring the bioaccumulation of chemical elements within various organismal tissues has become a useful tool to survey current or chronic levels of heavy metal exposure within an environment. In this study, we compared the bioaccumulations of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, Se, and Zn between the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, and its parasites in order to establish their use as bioindicators of heavy metal pollution. Concomitant with these results, we were interested to determine if parasites were more sensitive bioindicators of heavy metals relative to alligators. We found parasites collectively accumulated higher levels of As, Cu, Se, and Zn in comparison to their alligator hosts, whereas Fe, Cd, and Pb concentrations were higher in alligators. Interestingly, Fe levels were significantly greater in intestinal trematodes than their alligator hosts when analyzed independently from other parasitic taxa. Further analyses showed alligator intestinal trematodes concentrated As, Cu, Fe, Se, and Zn at significantly higher levels than intestinal nematodes and parasites from other organs. However, pentastomids also employed the role as a good biomagnifier of As. Interestingly, parasitic abundance decreased as levels of As increased. Stomach and intestinal nematodes were the poorest bioaccumulators of metals, yet stomach nematodes showed their ability to concentrate Pb at orders of magnitude higher in comparison to other parasites. Conclusively, we suggest that parasites, particularly intestinal trematodes, are superior biomagnifiers of As, Cu, Se, and Zn, whereas alligators are likely good biological indicators of Fe, Cd, and Pb levels within the environment.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus