Wastewater bioremediation by mangrove ecosystems impacts crab ecophysiology: in-situ caging experiment

Mangroves are tidal wetlands that are often under strong anthropogenic pressures, despite the numerous ecosystem services they provide. Pollution from urban runoffs is one such threats, yet some mangroves are used as a bioremediation tool for wastewater (WW) treatment. This practice can impact mangrove crabs, which are key engineer species of the ecosystem. Using an experimental area with controlled WW releases, this study aimed to determine from an ecological and ecotoxicological perspective, the effects of WW on the red mangrove crab Neosarmatium africanum. Burrow density and salinity levels (used as a proxy of WW dispersion) were recorded, and a 3-week caging experiment was performed. Hemolymph osmolality, gill Na+/K+-ATPase (NKA) activity and gill redox balance were assessed in anterior and posterior gills of N. africanum. Burrow density decreased according to salinity decreases around the discharged area. Crabs from the impacted area had a lower osmoregulatory capacity despite gill NKA activity remaining undisturbed. The decrease of the superoxide dismutase activity indicates changes in redox metabolism. However, both catalase activity and oxidative damage remained unchanged in both areas but were higher in posterior gills. These results indicate that WW release may induce osmoregulatory and redox imbalances, potentially explaining the decrease in crab density. Based on these results we conclude that WW release should be carefully monitored as crabs are key players involved in the bioremediation process.


Mangrove, Bioturbation, Wastewater, Ecophysiology, Oxidative stress, Osmoregulation

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Theuerkauff Dimitri, Rivera-Ingraham Georgina A., Lambert Sophia, Mercky Yann, Lejeune Mathilde, Lignot Jehan-Hervé, Sucré Elliott (2020). Wastewater bioremediation by mangrove ecosystems impacts crab ecophysiology: in-situ caging experiment. Aquatic Toxicology. 218. 105358 (10p.). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2019.105358, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00592/70449/

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