MEPS 244:205-217 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps244205

Effects of changes in salinity and osmolality on the rate of uptake of zinc by three crabs of different ecologies

P. S. Rainbow1,2,*, W. H. Black2

1Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
2Previously: School of Biological Sciences, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: The effects of salinity and osmolality differences on the uptake rates of dissolved zinc were investigated in 3 crabs of different ecologies‹the euryhaline common shore crab Carcinus maenas, the extremely euryhaline Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis, and a more stenohaline marine crab, the velvet swimming crab Necora puber. Reduced salinities caused increases in the zinc uptake rate of E. sinensis as expected from the free metal ion model, with increased free zinc ion availabilities in conditions of reduced chloride complexation. In the cases of C. maenas and N. puber, however, reduced salinity was associated with reduced zinc uptake, a result interpreted in terms of a physiological response by these crabs to low salinity offsetting the physicochemical effect of increased free zinc ion availability. Results can be partly explained by reported changes in apparent water permeability (AWP) made by the crabs to low salinity, although experiments manipulating solution osmotic pressures independently of salinity (and therefore chloride concentrations) indicate that other physiological responses may also be coming into effect. The interaction of physiology and physicochemistry in controlling trace metal uptake from solution clearly varies between species.

KEY WORDS: Zinc uptake · Salinity · Osmolality · Crabs · Carcinus maenas · Eriocheir sinensis · Necora puber

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