Adults of the softshell clam Mya arenaria were continuously subjected to a flowing raw seawater solution containing a mixture of salts of manganese, zinc, lead, nickel, copper, and cadmium. Final calculated concentrations, in micrograms per liter of the toxicant solution were 7200 Mn, 2500 Zn, 70 Pb, 50 Ni, 50 Cu and 1 Cd; these concentrations approximated highest measured levels within surficial interstitial sediment waters from mid-Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. M. arenaria were also subjected to a 20% solution, i.e., 1440 Mn, 500 Zn, 14 Pb, 10 Ni, 10 Cu, and 0.2 micrograms per liter Cd. One study was conducted for 112 days in winter at 0 to 10 C and another for 16 days in summer at 16 to 22 C. In the winter study, all clams exposed to a 100% solution died between the 4th and 10th week; soft parts of survivors at 6 weeks contained about 19 times more Pb, 15 x more Zn, 12 x more Cu, 10 x more Mn, 3 x more Ni and 0.1 x more Cd than controls; relatively minor changes in whole body elemental content of Ca, Cr, Fe, K, Mg, Na, Sr, and V were observed. Clams exposed to a 20% solution during winter survived the 112 day study; at that time these contained about 5 x more Cu, 4 x more Mn, 3 x more Zn and about 2 x more Pb than controls; comparatively minor changes were observed in other elements examined. In the summer study, all M. arenaria subjected to the 100% solution died between 6 and 14 days; survivors from this group at 7 days contained about 25 x more Pb, 13 x more Cu, 11 x more Zn, 7 x more Mn, and 3 x more Ni than controls; other changes in elemental content were not as pronounced. Mortality in the 20% group during summer was slightly higher than controls during the 16 day study; at 14 days survivors from this group contained about 12 x more Mn, 7 x more Pb, 7 x more Zn, 4 x more Cu, and 3 x more Ni than controls. Survival and bioaccumulation patterns were not altered through feeding a supplemental diet of algae. The significance of these findings are discussed
in terms of potential environmental perturbations, especially local dredging practices.