All the experiments were conducted in the University molecular laboratory which is a certified PC2 laboratory which undergoes yearly inspection by the Institutional Biosafety Committee. The ICPMS tests are calibrated in the laboratory that follows documented analytical protocols based on United States Environmental Protection Agency methodology and other published methodology and includes extensive Quality Control analyses with every sample batch. The laboratory subscribes to QUASIMEME (Quality Assurance of Information for Marine Environmental Monitoring in Europe) which is a subscription-based international quality assurance programme for marine environmental monitoring, and the laboratory has participated actively since 1997. Laboratory performance studies include four rounds per annum of ‘blind’ analysis of seawater, sediment and biota samples provided by QUASIMEME. Submitted data are statistically assessed to provide an external quality assurance for chemical measurements in the marine environment. The laboratory's performance in QUASIMEME is consistently of very high quality. The potentiostat was calibrated using internal and external dummy cells provided by the instrument manufacturer. The pH meter was calibrated using standard buffer solutions. The Hach DR 3000 Colorimeter was calibrated using standard samples and reagents provided by Hach. The JEOL SEM-energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) was calibrated and serviced regularly by a JEOL technician.

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