Heavy Metal Levels and Their Potential Toxic Effect on Coral Galaxea
fascicularis from Java Sea, Indonesia
Specific aims of the study were to quantify heavy metal
concentration in the coral tissue and to determine the toxic effect of
metal on coral Galaxea fascicularis. The concentration of heavy
metals in the coral tissues were assessed using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer
(AAS) technique. Various oceanographic parameters were also measured on
sampling sites. Controlled tolerance experiment testing copper were performed
on coral organism. Series of exposures at different range concentrations
(0.025, 0.050, 0.075 and 0.100 mg L-1 Cu) were conducted for
96 h LC50. Results indicated that low variation existed among
some oceanographic parameter in depth. Higher concentrations of Pb and
Fe were detected in coral tissues. Short duration (24 h) laboratory assay
demonstrated dramatic effects ( tissue bleaching and death) on coral at
copper concentrations (0.1 mg L-1 Cu). The LC50-96
was determined to be 0.032 mg L-1 Cu (II). The present experimental
results demonstrated that heavy metals can have deleterious effect on
coral animal, at relatively low concentrations and for brief exposures.
Coral reefs are the most diverse and important communities in the tropical
and subtropical ecosystems on marine environments, providing an essential source
of food, tourist income, coastal protection from storm and erosion and source
for bioactive metabolite compounds (Kushmaro et al.,
; Ben-Haim and Rosenberg, 2004
et al., 2005
). About 85,707 km2
or 14% of total corals in
the world extending all the way in the Indonesian sea (Tomascik
et al., 1997
), however, only about 6% of coral reefs in Indonesia are
in excellent condition (75 to 100% coral cover). About 70% of the reefs in Indonesia
are in poor to fair condition, due primarily to anthropogenic activities (Suharsono,
Java is by far the most populous island in Indonesia, with approximately 62%
of the country`s population and is the most populous island in the world (Anonymous,
2001). Several big cities, Jakarta (capital city), Semarang and Surabaya,
are located on the northern coast of Java island. The cities are really highly
urbanized, due to the many industries located in those cities. Recent investigations
have shown metal contamination in Java coastal waters as a result of industrialization
and human development in the coastal zone (Booij et al.,
2001; Takarina et al., 2004). As a consequence,
most aquatic organisms, including coral reefs, are exposed to high concentrations
of metal contaminants.
Heavy metals are well known marine pollutants that originate from such sources
as industrial discharges (Gonzalez et al., 1999),
urban/agricultural run-off (Guzman and Jimenez, 1992),
sewage treatment discharges (Naoum et al., 2001;
Stylianou et al., 2007) and anti-fouling paints
(Valkirs et al., 2003; Warnken
et al., 2004). Extensive research has been directed towards determining
the extent and effects of metal pollution in fish (Romeo
et al., 1999; Rashed, 2001), sea anemone (Harland
and Nganro, 1990; Mitchelmore et al., 2003),
mollusks ( Yasoshima et al., 2001; Wang
et al., 2005), oysters (Hunter et al.,
1995) and mussels (Wong et al., 2000). However,
in the tropical marine environment, heavy metals have received little attention
with respect to their evidence of metal accumulation and potential toxic effect
on reef-building corals (Guzman and Jimenez, 1992). Several
studies on metal concentration in corals have been reported by Bastidas and
GarcÃa (1999 and 2004), Esslemont et al. (2000)
and Mitchelmore et al. (2007), however, no reports
was found on the study of heavy metal concentration and their toxic effects
on coral Galaxea fascicularis. To our knowledge, this is the first study
of heavy metals on coral G. fascicularis, in particular, from Indonesian
tropical reef environments.
In the present study the bleaching response is evaluated as a means of assessing
stress in corals within the framework of a standardized laboratory-based bioassay.
Coral bleaching has been suggested as a potential physiological response which
can be used to assess stress (Glynn, 1993). The heavy
metal copper was chosen for the tests as it is a common marine pollutant. In
addition, Cu is an essential element required by organisms in trace amounts,
however, at higher concentrations these heavy metals can exert toxic effects
on marine organisms (Kim et al., 2008). Coral
G. fascicularis, was chosen as material test due to the most abundant
coral species and their resistant properties to high sedimentation in sampling
sites. The objectives of the study were to quantify heavy metal concentration
(Copper, Lead, Zinc, Cadmium, Chromium and Iron) in the coral tissues of G.
fascicularis from the Jepara coastal waters of Java and to determine the
toxic effects (LC50-96) of metal on coral organism.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Sampling sites were located on Jepara coastal waters (S 06034`
44.1", E 1100 37` 47.4"), Java Sea. Figure 1
shows the sampling sites. Specimens of the corals for this analysis
were collected randomly during rainy season of 2008 (September) by scuba
diving at depths of 2 to 3 m, broken away with chisel and hammer and placed
in plastic bag submerged in sea water. Upon collection coral fragments
were put into sterile plastic bags (Whirl-Pak, Nasco, USA) and immediately
brought to the laboratory with dry-ice. In laboratory, corals were dried
in room temperature, ground and sieved. Fraction of particles less than
2 mm size was used for chemical analysis. Oceanographic parameters such
as temperature, salinity, turbidity, conductivity, pH and dissolved oxygen
concentration were measured by using Water Quality Checker, produced by
Horiba Co. Ltd, Japan. Wave Recorder produced by Sountex, USA was used
to measure current speed and orientation.
|| Sampling site of Jepara coastal waters, Java Sea
Coral G. fascicularis was collected and identified according to Veron
(1986). The collected specimens were cleaned in running water to remove
organic materials, dried in the room temperature and powdered, then 1 g of each
sample was digested a mixture of HF, HNO3 and HClO4 acids
(Chester et al., 1994). After the complete digestion,
each sample was diluted to 50 mL and the trace metals were determined as μg
g-1 using AAS technique (PE-3110). The measurements accuracy was
checked by applying two replicates in each sample.
Copper Toxicity Test and 96 h LC50
Corals were placed in experimental aquariums 1 day prior to
the start of the experiment. Dilutions of the copper were prepared with
filtered sea water to give final concentrations of Cu (II) of 10, 1,0,
0.1, 0.01 and 0.001 mg L-1. Ten small fragments (2x2 cm) of
G. fascicularis were placed in 7.5 L of each of the solutions for
48 h. All test solutions and control were aerated throughout the experimental
period. Coral mortality was investigated visually on percentage bleaching.
Based on the results obtained in the range-finding experiment of copper
tolerance, groups of ten small G. fascicularis colonies were exposed
to copper concentrations in sea water of 0, 0.025, 0.050, 0.075 and 0.10
mg L-1 Cu were conducted to determine 96 h median lethal concentrations
(LC50) graphically. The corals were inspected regularly and
their condition recorded. All test solutions and control were also aerated
throughout the experimental period. When polyp tissue could no longer
be seen within the calices, the corals were considered dead.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Oceanographic Parameters and Heavy Metal Analysis
The physico-chemical variables of the present study areas are subjected
to wide spatial temporal variation. Rainfall is the most important cyclic
phenomenon in Jepara as it brings about important changes in the physical
and chemical characteristics of the Jepara coastal zone. During the study
Jepara coastal water temperature was 28.44°C. Salinity range was 29.52
0/00. The pH value of water sample was 7.28. Dissolved
Oxygen (DO) concentration was varied from 4.38 to 4.44 ml L-1.
The current value was varied from 0.12 to 0.94 m sec-1 in depth.
Results showed that oceanographic parameters such as pH, temperature,
DO, salinity and conductivity were similar with increasing depth (Table
|| Oceanographic parameters of sampling site
|| Heavy metal concentrations in coral tissues
Comparing with earlier study (Takarina et al., 2004)
shows that Jepara coastal waters had high DO and low conductivity. Water quality
parameters, such as DO, temperature, pH, were known to influence the availability
and accumulation of metal by marine organisms (Shuhaimi-Othman
et al., 2006; Gorski and Nugegoda, 2006).
Furthermore, the toxicity and bioavailability to marine organisms is greatly
influenced by physico-chemical condition in which the heavy metals is present
(Gorski and Nugegoda, 2006).
There is variation and high concentrations of metals were determined for the
coral tissue. Except for the Chrom (Cr) on sample C2 and C3 all other trace
metals were detectable. Result for the mean of metals in the coral tissues were
Zn 14.35±4.38 mg kg-1, Cu 12.62±1.88 mg kg-1,
Pb 58.01±6.03 mg kg-1, Cd 6.41±0.68 mg kg-1,
Fe 148.40±108.39 mg kg-1 and Cr 2.57±4.77 mg kg-1.
Result also showed that Fe and Pb concentrations in coral were very high (Table
2). The causes of higher concentration of heavy metals in corals is likely
to be restricted to the areas immediately surrounding the site of release, such
as locations of industrial discharge, sewage outfalls and urban/agricultural
runoff. Jepara coastal waters was surrounded by harbour, shipyard, high density
of coastal settlements, wood industries and high intensity of agricultural activities.
These heavy metals may also be derived from some of these anthropogenic heavy
metals which found in Jepara nearshore waters. Corals absorb metals across their
surface`s tissue, then metals are suspended or floating in the surrounding water
will be absorbed.
These higher values in corals are not surprisingly, Brown
(2000) suggested that tropical cnidarian species could increase their sensitivity
to pollutants compared to their temperate counterparts. Furthermore, Barka
(2007) stated that marine invertebrates accumulate trace metals in their
tissues at levels several fold higher than those in their surroundings and are
still able to survive.
Copper Toxicity Test and 96 h LC50
In the range-finding experiment, fragments of G. fascicularis
from assay exposed to 10 mg L-1 copper turned from a normal
dark green colour to a lighter colour within 5 h and began to discolour
after 7 h. Between 13 and 15 h, all fragments exposed to 10 mg L-1
copper died and 8 of the 10 fragments in the 1 mg L-1 copper
treatment died. The discolouration appeared to be less extensive on the
fragments exposed to 0.1 mg L-1 Cu and 5 of the 10 fragments
died after 48 h. No mortalities were observed at any test concentration.
Result of range-finding tolerance of G. fascicularis to copper
concentrations was 0.01 to 0.1 mg L-1 . The condition of the
test corals after 48 h exposure is given in Table 3.
Based on the results obtained in the initialâ€“finding study, a second
series of exposures at different range concentrations were conducted for
96 h LC50. Fifty percent coral mortality figure was achieved
for G. fascicularis colonies at copper concentrations of 0.025,
0.05, 0.075 and 0.10 mg L-1 Cu. Figure 2
plots the time taken for 50% of colonies to die at each experimental copper
concentration and results a 96h LC50 of 0.032 mg L-1.
|| Results of range-finding toxicity of coral G. fascicularis
to copper after 48 h
|| Time for 50% mortality of G. fascicularis at
various Cu concentrations
Bleaching of corals following exposure to heavy metals has been described in
the earlier studies. Howard et al. (1986) reported
a 96h LC50 for Montipora verucosa exposed to 0.048 mg L-1
Cu. While Jones (1997) demonstrated the loss of zooxanthellae
from Acropora formosa exposed at 0.01 to 0.04 mg L-1 Cu for
48 h. Mitchelmore et al. (2007) in their study
showed 0.05 mg L-1 Cu exposure caused severe stress for P. damicornis.
It seems that acute toxicity for coral exposed to copper depend on the metal,
species and life-stage. The present study showed that result a 96 h LC50
for G. fascicularis was 0.032 mg L-1 Cu. No measurements were
made of the uptake and partitioning of copper during the toxicity tests described
here. However, McConchie and Harriott (1992) stated that
coral tissue parts had more potential use in metal pollution monitoring than
that of coral skeletal parts. Even the effect of copper was only examined on
G. fascicularis, the study has indicated that measuring coral bleaching
has considerable potential as a means of assessing stress.
Variations of Zn, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb and Cr concentrations in tissues of
the scleractinian coral G. fascicularis were measured to provide
information for designing bio-assay surveys involving this coral. Inter-colony
variations were measured using single portions (tissue) from different
colonies of a coral community. The application of tissues for heavy-metal
bio-assays is compromised by consistent inter-colony variation. Comparisons
with earlier studies show that G. fascicularis to be the more sensitive
to heavy metal toxicity, however this organism could survive in higher
concentrations for longer periods of time than the other coral species.
The finding of this study suggest that the metal concentrations in coral
tissue might be sensitive to differences in environmental metal load.
Future study will need to establish study for quantitatively assessing
both the acute and chronic toxic influence of heavy metals on coral physiology
from polluted and unpolluted sampling sites.
This study was supported by grant from Directorate General of Higher
Education (Dikti), Indonesian Ministry of National Education under competent
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