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Benthic organisms as ecological indicators for the status assessment of coastal ecosystems

  • D. Komar (a1) (a2), M. Dolenec (a3), T. Dolenec (a1), P. Vrhovnik (a1) (a4), S. Lojen (a5) (a6), G. Kniewald (a7), S.S. Matešić (a8), Ž. Lambaša Belak (a8) and M. Orlando-Bonaca (a9)...

The presence of potentially toxic elements (PTE) was determined in different tissues of five selected marine organisms. The As, Cd, Cu, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb and Zn concentrations were measured in the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa, the green alga Cladophora echinus, the red alga Gelidiella lubrica, the marine topshell Phorcus turbinatus and the littoral crab Carcinus aestuarii, as well as in seawater from Makirina Bay. The levels of As, Cd, Cu, Mn and Zn in the biota were found to exceed those in previously analysed sediments, indicating the bioaccumulation of these PTE. The biota-sediment accumulation factor (BSAF) and concentration factor (CF) varied among different organisms. As regards the five selected species, C. nodosa, C. echinus and G. lubrica proved to be the strongest accumulators of Mn, while P. turbinatus and C. aestuarii showed a high capacity to accumulate As, Cd, Cu and Zn. These species can be considered as good ecological indicators in the assessment of PTE pollution in marine littoral environments.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: D. Komar, Geoexp, d. o. o., Company for Scientific Research and Development in the Field of Geology, Geochemistry and Environmental Protection, Slap 21, 4290 Tržič, Slovenia Email:,
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