A novel index based on planktonic copepod reproductive traits as a tool for marine ecotoxicology studies

Copepods are excellent bioindicators of climate change and ecosystem pollution in anthropized coastal waters. This work reviewed the results of previous studies examining changes in egg production rate (EPR), hatching success (HS), and nauplius survival rate (NSR) in natural conditions and in the presence of pollutants, including heavy metals and organic contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). At high concentrations, cadmium and silver induce an increase in EPR in the copepods Acartia tonsa and Acartia hudsonica, while exposure to mercury decreases EPR in adults by 50%. All three metals affect HS, with mercury inducing a stronger effect than cadmium and silver. Cadmium affects reproductive traits in Centropages ponticus, decreasing EPR and particularly HS. Furthermore, copper and chromium at high concentrations induce significant decreases in eggs per female in Notodiaptomus conifer. In terms of organic contaminant and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Eurytemora affinis is reported to be affected by naphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, 2,6-dimethylnaphthalene, and 2,3,5-trimethylnaphthalene and can thus be used in ecotoxicity studies, but only if the exposure time is high. Acartia tonsa shows significant reductions in EPR and HS at high concentrations of fluoranthene, phenanthrene, and pyrene. However, the response to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) such as pentachlorophenol (PCP) and 1,2-dichlorobenzene (DCB) differs. In E. affinis, EPR increases with DCB, but HS falls to <1%. EPR increases when the species is exposed overnight, but HS remains low in the presence of DCB. Based on these results, we developed a novel copepod reproductive trait index (CRT-Index) for use in marine ecotoxicology surveys and tested in some simple cases.

We show that copepods are good candidates as models for ecotoxicology studies, in particular using reproductive traits (EPR, HS and NSR) because of their sensitivity to a wide range or pollutants.


Planktonic copepods, Reproductive traits, Ecotoxicology

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Hussain Mohamed Bakr, Laabir Mohamed, Yahia Mohamed Nejib Daly (2020). A novel index based on planktonic copepod reproductive traits as a tool for marine ecotoxicology studies. Science Of The Total Environment. 727. 138621 (11p.). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138621, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00623/73498/

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