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Résumé/Sommaire :

Increased pollution in the coastal areas may cause changes in the biodiversity of marine organisms depending upon their physiological capacity and resilience to thrive under stressing environmental conditions. The present research evaluates the heavy metals pollution degree of coastal waters using the macroalgae Ericaria selaginoides as bioindicator along the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Eight stations were chosen: two located near Eljadida city, three nearby Safi city and three around the city of Essaouira. Results showed that the heavy metal content in the thalli of E. selaginoides, in seawater and sediment varied seasonally. At the same time, it was negatively correlated with algal biodiversity onsite. However, the Chemical Oxygen Demand was significantly higher at the polluted station S5 than at other stations, while Dissolved Oxygen and Biological Oxygen Demand were lower. E. selaginoides accumulated metals in the following order Fe > Zn > Mn > Cu > Ni > Pb > Cr > Cd. In conclusion, E. selaginoides is overall more resilient to heavy metal pollution than other marine organisms in the Atlantic coast of Morocco, as indicated by substantially elevated concentrations of heavy metals in some sites. Our results support that E. selaginoides would be a suitable bioindicator for monitoring of heavy metals in polluted coastal areas.

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