Heavy metals are one of the most hazardous pollutants in marine environments because of their bioaccumulation and biomagnification capabilities. Among them, cadmium (Cd) has been considered as one of the most dangerous for marine organisms. Here we incubated Ammonia cf. parkinsoniana specimens, a benthic foraminiferal taxon used in previous experiments, for up to 48 h in natural seawater with different concentrations of Cd to unravel the physiological change. We document a reduced pseudopodial activity of the Cd-treated specimens at concentrations >10–100 ppb in comparison with the control specimens. Moreover, confocal images of Cd-treated specimens using Nile Red as a fluorescent probe reveal an enhanced intracellular neutral lipid accumulation in the form of lipid droplets at 6 h and 12 h. This bioassay experiment allows for the direct evaluation of Cd-dose to A. cf. parkinsoniana-response relationships under laboratory controlled conditions and provides complementary information to field observations as well as to water quality guidelines and thresholds.

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