The tropical brown alga Lobophora variegata as a bioindicator of mining contamination in the New Caledonia lagoon: a field transplantation study

Abstract : Previous field and laboratory studies have identified the alga Lobophora variegata as a good candidate for biomonitoring metal contamination in the New Caledonia lagoon which is subjected to intensive and extensive metal inputs from land-based mining activities. The aim of this work was to further assess the bioindicative potential of this species by investigating, in the field, its bioaccumulation capacity for local key contaminants, i.e. Ag, As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni and Zn. Algae from clean and contaminated sites were cross-transplanted for a period of three months in order to determine the in situ uptake and depuration kinetics of the nine elements. Results indicate that algae transplanted to the contaminated site displayed a significant linear increase in concentration with time for Ag, As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn and Ni. In contrast, algae transplanted to the clean site did not show major depuration of these elements, except for Co. Overall, L. variegata showed a rapid temporal response in metal uptake, especially for the elements intensively released into the coastal environment of New Caledonia (viz., Co, Cr, Mn and Ni). This species appears therefore as an excellent bioindicator species of metal contamination in this area. Our results also provide background information necessary for using L. variegata under in situ experimental conditions so as to provide better quantitative information on ambient metal contamination levels. The wide distribution of L. variegata in tropical areas further enhances its potential as a bioindicator species of metal contamination in other tropical coastal environments.
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Laetitia Hédouin, Paco Bustamante, Renaud Fichez, Michel Warnau. The tropical brown alga Lobophora variegata as a bioindicator of mining contamination in the New Caledonia lagoon: a field transplantation study. Marine Environmental Research, Elsevier, 2008, 66 (4), pp.438-444. ⟨10.1016/j.marenvres.2008.07.005⟩. ⟨hal-00326628⟩

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