Assessing the effect of mercury pollution on cultured benthic foraminifera community using morphological and eDNA metabarcoding approaches

Antonio Caruso, Giovanna Scopelliti, Antonella Maccotta, Claudia Cosentino, Emanuela Reo, Fabrizio Frontalini, Franck Lejzerowicz, Maria Pia Nardelli, Mattia Greco, Maria Teresa Losada, Eric Armynot Du Châtelet, Letizia Di Bella, Rodolfo Coccioni, Jan Pawlowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) is a highly toxic element for living organisms and is known to bioaccumulate and biomagnify. Here, we analyze the response of benthic foraminifera communities cultured in mesocosm and exposed to different concentrations of Hg. Standard morphological analyses and environmental DNA metabarcoding show evidence that Hg pollution has detrimental effects on benthic foraminifera. The molecular analysis provides a more complete view of foraminiferal communities including the soft-walled single-chambered monothalamiids and small-sized hard-shelled rotaliids and textulariids than the morphological one. Among these taxa that are typically overlooked in morphological studies we found potential bioindicators of Hg pollution. The mesocosm approach proves to be an effective method to study benthic foraminiferal responses to various types and concentrations of pollutants over time. This study further supports foraminiferal metabarcoding as a complementary and/or alternative method to standard biomonitoring program based on the morphological identification of species communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-524
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume129
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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