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Volume 45 - Number 3 - 2010


Experimental evaluation of the in situ copper toxicity on associated fauna of Perumytilus purpuratus (Bivalvia: Mytilidae), an ecosystem bioengineer

Jesús Acevedo1, Fernanda I. Orellana1 y Ricardo Guiñez1

1Instituto de Investigaciones Oceanológicas, Facultad de Recursos del Mar, Universidad de Antofagasta, Casilla 170, Antofagasta, Chile




In this study we evaluated the effects of copper pollution on the mussel Perumytilus purpuratus-associated macrofaunal community on the basis of a pilot experiment in situ (northern Chile), using a modificated technique of copper administration. We used three copper treatments (Control, PRESS-continuous copper administration, and PULSE-intermittently copper administration) applied on three mussel matrices or beds. The results evidenced the presence of 46 taxa associated to the mussel P. purpuratus. Significant effects of the treatments of copper on mussel density, maximum length and number of strata, and the faunal species richness and equitability were not detected. However, marginally significant effects of the treatments of copper on the diversity index were observed. The analysis of the faunistic composition using a non metric multidimensional scaling showed a significant effect of the PRESS and PULSE treatments, producing a divergent behavior regarding the Control. This suggests that the P. purpuratus-associated fauna respond differentially to copper frequency administration and we suggest that it is possible to use the associated fauna as a sentinel or community bio-indicator for the tracking of the effects of copper and other heavy metals


Key words: Copper pollution, mussel beds, bivalve



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