Important anthropogenic inputs of copper into the ocean include urban sewage sludge dumping, runoff from copper mines, antifouling paints, Copper is an essential element for animals, especially decapods, gastropods and cephalopods need copper in the respiratory pigment hemocyanin. Hemocyanin is a protein which (like hemoglobin) binds oxygen to transport it to the tissues. It is however also one of the most toxic metals to a wide spectrum of marine life.  Copper concentrations between 1 and 10µg/l can seriously affect a large number of marine organisms. These concentrations have lethal effects on scallops, clams and isopods, while other species like mussels are protected by methallotioneins.
- Kennish, M. J. (1996): Practical Handbook of Estuarine and Marine Pollution, CRC Press 524 pp
- Clark, R,B., 1999. Marine pollution. Oxford University press, Fourth edition, pp 161