Oyster-based national mapping of trace metals pollution in the Chinese coastal waters
To investigate the distribution and variability of trace metal pollution in the Chinese coastal waters, over 1000 adult oyster individuals were collected from 31 sites along the entire coastline, spanning from temperate to tropical regions (Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea), between August and September 2015. Concentrations of macroelements [sodium (Na), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and phosphorus (P)] and trace elements [cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), silver (Ag), and titanium (Ti)] in these oysters were concurrently measured and analyzed. The results showed high Ti, Zn and Cu bioaccumulation in oysters from Guangdong (South China Sea) and Zhejiang (East China Sea). Oysters at Nanji Island (Wenzhou) and Daya Bay (Huizhou) accumulated significantly high concentrations of Ni and Cr. The elements in these oysters were several times higher than the national food safety limits of China. On the other hand, the present study found that normalization of metals by salinity (Na) and nutrient (P) could reflect more details of metal pollution in the oysters. Biomonitoring of metal pollution could benefit from incorporating the macroelement calibration instead of focusing only on the total metal concentrations. Overall, simultaneous measurement of macroelements and trace metals coupled with non-linear analysis provide a new perspective for revealing the underlying mechanism of trace metal bioavailability and bioaccumulation in marine organisms.