formula: Cu; CAS Registry Number: 7440-50-8

Common metal widely used by humans

It is used in electrical and metal working industries as well as in chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Copper compounds are active ingredients in pesticides and fertilizers and added to feed to prevent Cu-deficiency in livestock.

Copper is released into the environment during weathering, leaching and biological processes but also during anthropogenic activities. As component of many proteins and enzymes copper is an essential element for all higher organisms. Nevertheless, it has toxic properties.
The bioavailability of copper, and thus its toxicity, is strongly dependent on its chemical state: soluble Cu-ions are readily available whereas bioavailability of bound copper is low.

Organisms differ in their copper tolerance and many are able to accumulate copper. In terrestrial plants Cu-deficiency is more common than toxic effects. In animals toxicity may occur e.g. through copper-rich food.


  • Common mussel species as invasive animal in rivers and lakes with high information level for water pollution
  • Bioindicator in rivers and lakes
  • Fine insoluble mineral or organic particles in the water phase
  • Common brown alga of the coastal areas of the North and Baltic Sea
  • One of the most important edible mussel species common in the North and Baltic Sea
  • As the only viviparous fish in German nearshore waters, it is a bioindicator in nearshore coastal marine ecosystems.
  • Inshore, the herring gull mainly feeds from the sea: upon fish, mussels, and crabs.
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A deciduous tree typical of ecosystems close to dense conurbations and an indicator for the characterisation of the immission situation during the vegetation period.
  • As the most dominant deciduous tree species in Central Europe, it plays a significant role in most nearly natural and also anthropogenically influenced forest ecosystems up to an altitude of 1100 m.
  • The roe deer is the most common of the larger herbivores (first order-consumer) to be found in the wild in Europe.
  • A pigeon species home in nearly every city.
  • Soil is livelihood and biosphere for humans, animals, plants and soil organisms. All the substances brought in are transported, transformed and/or accumulated in the soil.
  • Student groups with an even number of female and male students at the age of 20 to 29.

Sampling area

Sampling period

1981 - 2022

Extended information

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