Effects of the deletion of Ca++, Mg++, or Ca++ and Mg++ on the leakage of primary amines, Ca++, and Mg++ from gills of Mytilus californianus were studied. In the absence of Ca++ the gills leak primary amines and Ca++ for about 30 minutes, after which the primary amines are reabsorbed. In the absence of Mg++ the gills leak primary amines, with no net reabsorption for at least 90 minutes, and show rapid leakage of Mg++. In the absence of both Ca++ and Mg++ amino acid leakage is initially less than in the absence of only one of the cations. Measurements of the kinetics of leakages of Ca++ and Mg++ are consistent with the hypothesis that both ions are associated with the cell surface, but the affinity of Ca++ for the cell surface is greater than that of Mg++. In the absence of Mg++, the influx of 14C-glycine was depressed to about 1/3 that seen in controls, while deletion of Ca++ had no effect on the rate of influx. Increasing the [Mg++] stepwise between 5 x 10(-6) and 1 x 10(-1) M results in a sigmoidal increase in the rate of influx of 14C-glycine and a hyperbolic increase in the y-intercept of influx curves.