Bioaccumulation of Arsenic, Chromium (VI), and Lead by Barnacles of the Species Semibalanus Eburneus

EPA Grant Number: U915892
Title: Bioaccumulation of Arsenic, Chromium (VI), and Lead by Barnacles of the Species Semibalanus Eburneus
Investigators: Lourenco, Manuel G.
Institution: East Carolina University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $82,728
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Public Health Sciences , Academic Fellowships , Health Effects


The objective of this research project is to study the bioaccumulation of arsenic, chromium (VI), and lead by barnacles of the species Semibalanus eburneus. Coastal population growth is increasing at a rapid rate. Currently, chemical analyses of estuarine ecosystems are the techniques employed to monitor anthropogenic stresses. Unfortunately, this approach is temporally limited and fails to differentiate between total contaminant and amount biologically available. Research has shown that anthropogenic stresses are best monitored using biomonitors, especially heavy metal accumulators. Biomonitoring involves the use of indicators, indicator species, or indicator communities. As a result, estuarine barnacles will be evaluated relative to their biomonitoring characteristics.


An estuarine site will be selected where barnacles are attached to submerged debris. A series of structures will be constructed for barnacle larvae to settle on and molt into adults. After settlement, barnacles will be collected and transported to the laboratory. Groups of barnacles will be exposed to various concentrations of arsenic, chromium (VI), and lead for 30 days. A group will be maintained as controls with the only difference being the absence of contaminant treatment. After exposure, soft and hard barnacle tissues will be analyzed for bioaccumulated concentrations of metals utilizing atomic absorption spectrophotometry techniques. This process will determine whether the species under study regulates or fails to regulate the uptake of study metals. Once contaminant accumulation patterns are established, regulators can incorporate this very successful group of organisms into their comprehensive ecosystem monitoring programs.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, arsenic, As, chromium, Cr, lead, Pb, estuarine barnacles, Semibalanus eburneus, atomic absorption spectrophotometry, anthropogenic stress, heavy metals, heavy metal accumulators, biomonitoring, contaminants, contaminant accumulation patterns, indicators, indicator species, indicator communities, estuarine ecosystems., RFA, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Chemicals, Aquatic Ecosystem, Fate & Transport, Monitoring/Modeling, Hazardous Waste, Hazardous, environmental monitoring, fate and transport, anthropogenic stress, bioassessment, fate and transport , contaminant dynamics, Chromium, lead, analytical chemistry, chemical kinetics, barnacles, chemical releases, groundwater contamination, chemical transport models, arsenic, bioaccumulation, groundwater, heavy metals

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final