Effects of heavy metals on the survival of Diacypris compacta (Herbst) (Ostracoda) from the Coorong, South Australia

Anna Brooks*, Rehema M. White, David C. Paton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The hypermarine southern Coorong is threatened by proposals to drain relatively fresh surface water and groundwater from adjacent agricultural areas into the Coorong. These influent waters carry moderate loads of heavy metals. Acute toxicity of heavy metals to Diacypris compacta, an abundant ostracod in the Coorong, was measured in the laboratory at 18°C in a static system using Coorong water (pH 7.8 salinity 50 ppt). At 4 days (96 h) the mean values of LC50 for copper, zinc, lead and, cadmium respectively were 0.8, 2.1, 3.1 and 4.3 mg L-1, and at 8 days the respective mean LC50s were 0.4, 0.7, 2.2 and 1.1 mgL-1. The effect of two or three metals on mortality was additive in some cases and synergistic in other cases, but generally less than additive. However, in all cases mortality was greater in the presence of two or three metals than in the presence of a single metal. According to ANZECC (1992) guidelines, maximum acceptable concentrations of heavy metals should be no higher than 0.01 x the lowest LC50 value. Using the lowest LC50 values for Diacypris compacta obtained at 8 days, maximum acceptable concentrations in the Coorong would be 4, 5, 9 and 22 μgL-1 for copper, zinc, cadmium and lead respectively, the values for zinc and copper failling below those recommended by ANZECC (1992) for marine waters. Reported concentrations of copper and zinc in surface water and groundwater in areas adjacent to the Coorong sometimes exceed these values, hence drainage of these waters into the Coorong represents a significant hazard to the Coorong biota.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-163
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Salt Lake Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1995


  • acute toxicity
  • Coorong
  • Diacypris
  • heavy metals
  • Ostracoda


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