The sea cucumber Stichopus horrens is an important component of near-shore ecosystems, and in the Kingdom of Tonga it also comprises an important commercial and subsistence fishery. To assess the sensitivity of this species to the toxic trace metal cadmium (Cd), adult S. horrens were exposed for 96 h to an environmental (15 µg L−1) or effect (765 µg L−1) concentration of waterborne Cd. The respiratory tree and intestine accumulated higher concentrations of Cd than the muscle and body wall, but there were no effects of Cd on tissue ions (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium). For comparison, Cd accumulation was also examined in the Australasian sea cucumber Australostichopus mollis. This species displayed a similar pattern of tissue-specific accumulation to S. horrens, but exhibited lower tissue Cd burdens, likely a consequence of lower experimental temperature. Effects on gonad ion content were also seen in this species. At the highest Cd exposure concentration, S. horrens showed impaired ammonia excretion rates and an increased molar oxygen:nitrogen ratio (O:N), indicative of a decreased reliance on protein metabolism. Overall, this study suggests that S. horrens is relatively tolerant of Cd exposure, but raises concerns regarding the subsistence fishery practice of consuming the viscera of this species.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jul. 2017|
- Nitrogen excretion
- Oxygen consumption