Coral skeletal tin and copper concentrations at Pohnpei, Micronesia: Possible index for marine pollution by toxic anti-biofouling paints

Mayuri Inoue, Atsushi Suzuki, Masato Nohara, Hironobu Kan, Ahser Edward, Hodaka Kawahata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)


We present 40 year-long skeletal chronologies of tin (Sn) and copper (Cu) from an annually-banded coral (Porites sp.) collected from Pohnpei Island, Micronesia (western equatorial Pacific). Both the elements are present in antifouling marine paints and are released inadvertently into ambient seawater. Especially, Sn has often been used in the form of tributyltin (TBT). Based on a stepwise pretreatment examination, Sn and Cu both inside and outside the aragonite lattice of the coral skeleton show a potential for providing marine pollution indicators. High values of extra-skeletal Cu/Ca and Sn/Ca atomic ratios were found between late 1960s and late 1980s during a period of active use of TBT-based antifouling paints worldwide. However, a significant decrease in both the ratios in the beginning of 1990s can be attributed to regulation of the use of TBT on cargo ships by countries such as the USA, Japan and Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Coral
  • Heavy metals
  • Marine pollution
  • Pretreatment
  • TBT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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