This study assessed the occurrence and impacts of maternal metal transfer in live-bearing fish. The occurrence was investigated in two different species (Gambusia affinisand Heterandria formosa), while the impacts were studied only in G. affinis. Occurrence and impacts were addressed by exposing gravid females for 10 days to 0.15 μM of copper or cadmium, transferring the fish to clean water, monitoring their reproduction and collecting newborn offspring for further analyses of their health and reproductive success.
Maternal transfer of copper and cadmium occured in both study species. Metal levels decreased in subsequent broods and in broods born later after a female's exposure. Metal exposure impacted the reproductive success of exposed-females; effects included smaller broods and more broods were aborted broods or contained dead offspring. Many effects remained for second broods developing well after the exposure.
The maternal metal exposure also impacted the offspring's health. Newborn offspring were smaller at birth, had reduced calcium levels, had a lowered metal tolerance, and had cellular membrane damage. When these offspring grew up, they had an increased rate of malformations, a smaller size at sexual maturity, increased gestation time and fewer broods. In spite of the impacts on life history parameters found in the laboratory, effects on population dynamics were very limited for greenhouse mesocosm populations established with the offspring of exposed females.
Effects for the essential metal (copper) and the nonessential metal (cadmium) were generally similar. A few effects, like those on body size, were evident for copper but not for cadmium. However, several of the more severe impacts, like the increase in malformations and reductions in the number of broods, were greatest for the offspring of the cadmium-exposed females.
This is the first report demonstrating negative impacts resulting from a short-term maternal metal exposure in live-bearing fishes. Effects were evident not just for reproduction of exposed-females but also for their offspring's health and reproduction. The latter continued beyond the offspring that were developing during exposure. This study demonstrated that the internal development in live-bearing fish may not spare the developing young from impacts caused by a metal-contaminated environment.
|Advisor:||Klerks, Paul L.|
|Commitee:||Deaton, Lewis, Ennis, Don, Marsh-Matthews, Edith, Mopper, Susan|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biology, Ecology, Animal sciences|
|Keywords:||Cadmium, Copper, Live-bearing fish, Maternal transfer, Metal, Poeciliids|
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