Crustacea and heavy metal accumulation
Some of the special features of crustaceans, particularly of reproduction strategies, may be highly important for the interpretation of data from bioindicator studies using these organisms, and for the development of ecotoxicological endpoints. In order to set discharge effluent and surfacewater quality standards, chemical criteria have originally been developed and applied to natural water bodies for centuries. The use of physiological, cellular and biochemical effects, so-called biomarkers, has become attractive and useful for assessing the effects of environmental stressors on the sub-lethal level of biological systems. Physiological effects and toxicity of trace metals strongly depend on their intracellular localization and binding to organelles and ligands. Mitochondria are key intracellular targets for metal toxicity, which are very sensitive to metal exposures. Cadmium accumulation in mitochondria may result in serious disturbances of tissue energy balance and eventually cell death. Temperature can also increase the concentration of heavy metals in water due to their desorption. All these factors together may make sublethal/ subtoxic environments become lethal to aquatic animals. Possibility of chronic effects related with the onset of global warming (climate change) needs to be investigated.
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