University Of Tasmania

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Iron and zinc content of Hormosira banksii in New Zealand

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 02:03 authored by Cooke, RRM, Catriona HurdCatriona Hurd, Lord, JM, Peake, BM, Raven, JA, Rees, TAV
In the Northern Hemisphere, brown seaweeds in the Order Fucales have been used extensively as bio‐monitors of heavy metal contamination in sea water, but in New Zealand there has been no assessment of the suitability of the Fucales in this role. We measured iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) concentrations in the intertidal fucalean seaweed Hormosira banksii at three sites in Otago, southeastern New Zealand and two sites at Leigh, northeastern New Zealand. There was no evidence of Zn or Fe contamination at any site studied. Zn levels for H. banksii from Otago Harbour followed a trend similar to an earlier study of Ulva sp. and the Fe content reflected patterns previously observed in sea water. Thus, as for Northern Hemisphere fucalean seaweeds, H. banksii is potentially useful as a bio‐monitor for heavy metals in sea water. Levels of Fe and Zn were among the lowest of any brown seaweed worldwide, and the Fe content of H. banksii from Waterfall Reef, Goat Island Marine Reserve, Leigh, was 50% lower than samples from Otago. These low trace metal levels led us to examine if the growth of H. banksii in New Zealand is limited by Fe or Zn. The physiological requirements of Fe and Zn for growth were calculated and compared with measured values and we suggest that despite low Zn and Fe levels, these trace elements do not limit the growth of H. banksii.


Publication title

New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Sir Publishing

Place of publication

Po Box 399, Wellington, New Zealand

Rights statement

Copyright 2004 The Royal Society of New Zealand

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems