Metals in aquatic ecosystems and their impact on the hydrobionts

H. L. Antonyak1, T. V. Bahday2, O. I. Pershyn3,O. E. Bubys1, N. E. Panas2, N. P. Oleksiuk4

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1Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Saksahansky Str., 1, Lviv, 79005, Ukraine

2Lviv National Agrarian University, Volodymyr Velykyi Str., 1, Dubliany,

Lviv, 80381, Ukraine;

3Danylo Halytski National Medical University of Lviv, Pekarska Str., 69,

Lviv, 79010, Ukraine

4Institute of Animal Biology of NAAS, V. Stus Str., 38, Lviv, 79034, Ukraine

The present review article focuses on the impacts of metal pollution on aquatic ecosystems, and the processes that determine the levels of bioaccumulation and toxicity of metals to hydrobionts. Anthropogenic sources of metals and their distribution in water environment and bottom sediments are described. It is shown that metals are persistent in water column and sediments, so they affect significantly the environmental conditions during the hydrobionts life. Metal speciation and bioavailability in aquatic systems, the routes of exposure of aquatic organisms to metals, and important roles of trophic relations in metal transfer through the food web are considered.

The attention is paid to the peculiarities of metal bioaccumulation in the tissues of different groups of aquatic animals, the dependence of this process on geochemical, seasonal, climatic and biological factors. The genotoxic and cumulative effects of metals and environmental problems associated with their bioaccumulation and biomagnification in food chains are reviewed. These problems include a loss of biodiversity of aquatic species, destabilization and reduced productivity of freshwater and marine ecosystems.

It is noted that not only the non-essential metals (Cd, Pb, Hg), but also essential trace metals, if present in high intracellular concentrations, exhibit harmful effects on aquatic organisms. Cellular defense mechanisms that protect the hydrobionts from toxic effects of metals are also analyzed in the article. The importance of environmental monitoring and remediation of metal contaminated water bodies is emphasized.

Keywords: metals, hydrobionts, fishes, aquatic animals, aquatic plants, aquatic ecosystems

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