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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Fred G. Howell, John B. Gentry, Michael H. Smith (eds)

Publication Date


Book Title

Mineral Cycling in Southeastern Ecosystems - Proceedings of a symposium held at Augusta, Georgia May 1-3, 1974


U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration


Copper and zinc were analyzed in oysters (Crassostrea virginica) from the Newport River estuary, North Carolina, and the Rappahannock River estuary, Virginia. Results indicated that a concentration gradient existed, higher concentrations of metals being found in animals living in fresher waters as was shown previously for oysters in the James, York, and Rappahannock estuaries in Virginia. Absorbed, precipitatcd-coprecipitated, and organic fractions of copper and zinc in the <63-μm portion of the sediments from the Rappahannock and York rivers and estuaries were estimated from collections made in January 1972 and June 1973. These sediment data are discussed for both estuarine systems and are compared with metal concentrations in oysters. These comparisons indicated that the concentration gradient found in oysters does not appear to be related to the distribution of copper and zinc in the sediments. Alternative explanations for the inverse relationships between concentrations of copper and zinc in oysters and salinity arc given.

Distribution of copper and zinc in oysters and sediments from three coastal-plain estuaries.