Differential tolerance of two Gammarus pulex populations transplanted from different metallogenic regions to a polymetal gradient.Aquat Toxicol. 2011 Mar; 102(1-2):95-103.AT
The River Hayle, Cornwall, UK exhibits pronounced Cu and Zn concentration gradients which were used to compare the metal handling abilities of two populations of Gammarus pulex (Crustacea: Amphipoda). One population was native to the Hayle region (Drym) and presumably has been historically impacted by elevated Cu and Zn levels, whilst naïve gammarids were collected from the River Cray, Kent, UK. Both populations were subject to a 32 day in situ exposure at four R. Hayle sites (Drym, Godolphin, Relubbus and St. Erth). Mortality (LT50), Cu and Zn accumulation and sub-cellular distribution, and oxidative stress (malondialdehyde production) increased with the expected Cu and Zn bioavailabilities at the four sites (i.e. Godolphin>Relubbus>St. Erth>Drym). The naïve population experienced greater metal induced effects in terms of Cu and Zn accumulation, oxidative stress responses and lower LT50s. Analysis of Cu and Zn sub-cellular distribution, however, revealed no significant differences in metal handling. In both populations each metal was localised predominantly to the sub-cellular fraction containing metal bound to metallothionein-like proteins (MTLP) or that holding both metal-rich granules (MRG) and exoskeleton, MTLP and MRG binding being indicative of metal detoxification. However, a greater capacity for detoxified metal storage is not a mechanism implicated in the perceived tolerance of the historically impacted gammarids. Instead our results suggest that the historically impacted population was adapted for lower uptake of Cu and Zn leading to lower bioaccumulation, stress response and ultimately mortality. These results demonstrate not only the usefulness of the in situ methodology, but also that differences in population exposure history can cause significant differences in metal responses during exposure at higher concentrations.