STP1007

    Silver Transport and Impact in Estuarine and Marine Systems

    Published: Jan 1988


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    Abstract

    The transport of silver through estuarine and coastal marine systems is dependent upon biological uptake and incorporation. Uptake by phytoplankton is rapid, in proportion to silver concentration, and inversely proportional to salinity. In contrast to studies performed with other toxic metals, silver availability appears to be controlled by both the free silver ion concentration and the concentrations of other silver complexes, perhaps the ion pair AgCl. Silver incorporated by phytoplankton is not lost as salinity increases; as a result, silver associated with cellular material is largely retained within the estuary. Phytoplankton exhibit a variable sensitivity to silver. Sensitive species exhibit a marked delay in the onset of growth in response to silver at low concentrations, even though maximum growth rates are similar to controls. Sublethal effects, such as delayed growth, may not be observed during classical toxicity testing of a population; however, the effects to the community may be quite significant. A delay in the onset of growth reduces the ability of a population to respond to short-term favorable conditions and to succeed within the community, ensuring the dominance of resistant species with high initial rates of growth. Reliable assessment of the vulnerability of dynamic ecosystems requires that studies of potential pollutant impact consider geochemical and biogeochemical transformations and sublethal pressures upon community structure as well as the toxicity of the pollutant to keystone species.

    Keywords:

    algae, biogeochemistry, estuaries, silver, sublethal effects, toxicity testing, aquatic toxicology


    Author Information:

    Sanders, JG
    Director and senior scientist, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Division of Environmental Research, Benedict Estuarine Research Laboratory, Benedict, MD

    Abbe, GR
    Director and senior scientist, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Division of Environmental Research, Benedict Estuarine Research Laboratory, Benedict, MD


    Paper ID: STP10277S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E47.01

    DOI: 10.1520/STP10277S


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