Things we do in CIMA 4: Pollution indicators

Pollution indicators

From CIMA (Centro de Investigaciones Medioambientales del Atlántico, S.L.) (Atlantic Environmental Research Center), we want to show you what we do in and out our offices.


On this page you can find a series of small videos called "Things we do in CIMA", which will help us to explain what we do and how we do it. All this to approach the world of marine biology and oceanography.



- "Things we do in CIMA" #4: Pollution indicators: This day we went to collect limpets. But not like fisherman do, and limpets were not meant for food. Here, together with our partners from InDrops, we will analyze its tissues looking for contaminants. In order to do so, at first we separate the shell. We dry the mollusks and once they are, we digest it into nitric acid in a microwave.

A part of the digested material is introduced into an ICP-MS for heavy metal determination.

Why we do it?

Limpets are organisms that eat algae covering the rocks and usually do not move too much from a specific area. In fact, the limpets move around the place during the high tide and remain motionless during the low tide since they need seawater to survive. For this reason, during the low tide they "stick" to the substrate and thus avoid drying out. During the high tide, when the limpet is submergedin the water, it moves around browsing for the tiny algae that cover the rocks. One of the most surprising facts is that limpets could be characterized by having developed so called “homing" phenomenon. It means that, at low tide, limpets are placed in exactly the same position. If we have a closer look at the profile of a limpet´s shell, we will see that it grows according to the irregularities of the substrate and "matches" perfectly to the place where it is.

Determination of heavy metals, accumulated in tissues of different limpet populations helps us to learn about the quality of water and a type of contaminants present in this specific area.


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