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Metals in horseshoe crab eggs from Delaware Bay, USA: temporal patterns from 1993 to 2012

Burger, Joanna, Tsipoura, Nellie
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2014 v.186 no.10 pp. 6947-6958
Limulus polyphemus, adverse effects, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, crabs, eggs, fish, lead, manganese, mercury, predators, risk, selenium, temporal variation, Delaware, Delaware Bay, New Jersey
The health of horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) eggs is important not only to maintain horseshoe crab populations, but because they are a resource for higher trophic levels, such as fish and shorebirds. We examined the concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, manganese, mercury, and selenium in the eggs of horseshoe crabs from Delaware Bay (between New Jersey and Delaware, USA) in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000, and 2012 to determine if there were significant temporal changes and if levels appear to pose a health risk to the crabs themselves, or to predators that consume them. All metal levels declined in horseshoe crab eggs between 1994 and 2012, although the declines were much less consistent for lead and chromium than that for mercury and cadmium. Levels of contaminants found in these eggs are well below those known to cause adverse effects in the crabs themselves or to organisms that consume them, such as migrating shorebirds.