Silver nanoparticles affect functional bioenergetic traits in the invasive Red Sea mussel Brachidontes pharaonis.
We investigated the functional trait responses to 5 nm metallic silver nanoparticle (AgNPs) exposure in the Lessepsian-entry bivalve B. pharaonis. Respiration rate (oxygen consumption), heartbeat rate, and absorption efficiency were evaluated across an 8-day exposure period in mesocosmal conditions. Basal reference values from not-exposed specimens were statistically compared with those obtained from animals treated with three sublethal nanoparticle concentrations (2 µg L-1, 20 µg L-1, and 40 µg L-1). Our data showed statistically significant effects on the average respiration rate of B. pharaonis. Moreover, complex nonlinear dynamics were observed as a function of the concentration level and time. Heartbeat rates largely increased with no acclimation in animals exposed to the two highest levels with similar temporal dynamics. Eventually, a decreasing trend for absorption efficiency might indicate energetic constraints. In general, these data support the possible impact of engineered nanomaterials in marine environments and support the relevance of functional trait assessment in present and future ecotoxicological studies.