Comparative Baseline Levels of Heavy Metals and Histopathological Notes in Fish Fromtwo Coastal Ecosystems of South-West of Spain

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Chemistry. Sciences Faculty(Universityof Cadiz), 11510 Puerto Real Cadiz, Spain

2 Department Biology. Marine and Environmental Sciences Faculty (University of Cadiz), Campus deExcelencia Internacional delMar (CEIMAR), Puerto Real (Cadiz), Spain

3 Department of Environmental Technologies. CACYTMAR.Andalusia Centre ofMarine Sciences and Technology. Faculty ofMarine and Environmental Sciences. University of Cadiz, 11510 PuertoReal, Cadiz, Spain

4 Department of Earth Sciences. Faculty ofMarine and Environmental Sciences. University of Cadiz, 11510 Puerto Real,Cadiz, Spain


This work reports the comparative study of heavy metal water concentrations from
two coastal ecosystems ofCadizGulf (SWSpain): Bay of Cadiz and Ria ofHuelva estuary in samples
taken on years 1999-2000. Sampling zones showed different heavymetal levels. Statistical analysis
of dissolved trace metal concentrations (Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) showed significant differences between
Huelva and Cadiz zones based on the Cu level, with a marked seasonal factor and different metal
sources (Industrial, geological, urban,...), observing a higher Cu concentration in Ria de Huelva
respect to Bay of Cadiz. On the other hand, to evaluate the pollutant effects on aquatic biota, a
histopathological analysis have been conducted in specimens of flat fish, Solea senegalensis from
both zones. Lesions weremore severe in fish fromRia ofHuelva, being themost significant alterations:
gill hyperplasia, fusion of secondary lamellae, disorganization of the hepatic parenchyma, cellular
hypertrophy and vascular congestion in liver and tubular occlusion, loss of interstitial tissue and
lipid-like vacuoles in kidney. Obtained results are useful as reference data for future environmental
monitoring studies in these zones where to establish a heavy metal concentration temporal trend
would be necessary.