Marine Ecology: Current and Future Developments

Marine Ecology: Current and Future Developments

Volume: 1

Marine Pollution: Current Status, Impacts, and Remedies

While oceans are vast, they represent a fragile resource that must be protected if we want to protect our livelihoods and our planet. Marine pollution has been a topic of concern for a long time, and ...
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Ecotoxicology of Heavy Metals in Marine Fish

Pp. 173-230 (58)

Lizhao Chen, Sen Du, Dongdong Song, Peng Zhang and Li Zhang


Heavy metal pollution in the marine environment has been realized and developed to an important environmental problem since the 1950’s. In the polluted areas, marine organisms are exposed to high level of heavy metals via different routes, accumulate them in the body, and may have harmful effects from molecular level to population level. Heavy metals in marine fish have been taken much attention due to human consumption and health. Marine fish accumulate heavy metals depending on the concentration and species of metals in water and food, and trophic level, ionic physiology, feeding habits (carnivorous, herbivorous or omnivorous), habitats (demersal, pelagic, or bento-pelagic), growing of fish, and other factors. Consequently, the concentrations of heavy metals in marine fish vary considerably among species and different sites, which can be well explained by the biokinetic model. High levels of heavy metals in marine fish can induce various acute and chronic toxic effects, including behavioral changes, organ pathological changes, biochemical and physiological changes, hematological changes, and so on. Heavy metal-contaminated fish consumption will pose threats to organisms at higher trophic level and humans. Here, we review the occurrence and chemistry of heavy metals in the marine environment, bioaccumulation, and toxicity of heavy metals in marine fish, and the general risk assessment of heavy metal in fish to human health.


Heavy Metals, Bioaccumulation, Toxicology, Risk Assessment


Guandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Marine Biology, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China.