When considering contaminated site ecology and ecological risk assessment a key question is whether organisms that appear unaffected by accumulation of contaminants are tolerant or resistant to those contaminants. A population of Dendrodrilus rubidus Savigny earthworms from the Coniston Copper Mines, an area of former Cu mining, exhibit increased tolerance and accumulation of Cu relative to a nearby non-Cu exposed population. Distribution of total Cu between different body parts (posterior, anterior, body wall) of the two populations was determined after a 14 day exposure to 250 mg Cu kg(-1) in Cu-amended soil. Cu concentrations were greater in Coniston earthworms but relative proportions of Cu in different body parts were the same between populations. Cu speciation was determined using extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (EXAFS). Cu was coordinated to 0 atoms in the exposure soil but to S atoms in the earthworms. There was no difference in this speciation between the different earthworm populations. In another experiment earthworms were exposed to a range of Cu concentrations (200-700 mg Cu kg(-1)). Subcellular partitioning of accumulated Cu was determined. Coniston earthworms accumulated more Cu but relative proportions of Cu in the different fractions (cytosol > granular > tissue fragments, cell membranes, and intact cells) were the same between populations. Results suggest that Coniston D. rubidus are able to survive in the Cu-rich Coniston Copper Mines soil through enlargement of the same Cu storage reservoirs that exist in a nearby non-Cu exposed population.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Environmental science & technology|
|Publication status||Published - 15 May 2008|