Mechanisms of Nickel Toxicity in the Highly Sensitive Embryos of the Sea Urchin Evechinus chloroticus, and the Modifying Effects of Natural Organic Matter

Tamzin A. Blewett, D. Scott Smith, Chris M. Wood, Chris N. Glover

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A 96 h toxicity test showed that the embryos of the New Zealand sea urchin (Evechinus chloroticus) are the most sensitive of all studied marine species to waterborne nickel (Ni), with the EC50 for the development of fully formed pluteus larvae found to be 14 μg L-1. Failure to develop a standard larval shape suggested skeletal impairment. Whole body ions (Na, Mg) increased with Ni exposure and calcium influx was depressed. The effects of natural organic matter (NOM) on Ni accumulation and toxicity were also examined in three different seawater sources (nearshore, offshore, and near the outlet of a "brown water" stream). At low dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations the brown water NOM was protective against Ni toxicity, however at higher DOC concentrations it exacerbated developmental toxicity in the presence of Ni. These results show that sea urchin development is highly sensitive to Ni via a mechanism that involves ionoregulatory disturbance, and that Ni toxicity is influenced by environmental factors such as NOM. These data will be critical for the development of water quality guidelines for Ni in the marine environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1595-1603
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb. 2016

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