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Long-term incubation of adult Nereis virens (Annelida: Polychaeta) in copper-spiked sediment: the effects on adult mortality, gametogenesis, spawning and embryo development

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Late gametogenic Nereis virens were incubated for up to 2.5 months in environmentally relevant concentrations of copper-spiked sediment. Sequential extraction confirmed that much more labile copper (in actual and percentage terms) was present as spiked concentrations increased, although the residual fractions contained similar amounts across concentrations. This is also reflected in the tissue concentration of the worms which increased in line with the sediment concentrations. Adult mortality was not dependent on the exposure time, but higher concentrations usually induced greater mortality for both sexes. Oocytes were significantly smaller at higher concentrations although pairwise comparisons did not show specific differences. Spawning of males occurred a number of days earlier in the higher concentrations. Differences in the number of embryos developing normally after in vitro fertilizations of oocytes fertilized with sperm from exposed males and non-exposed males showed that sperm were more susceptible to toxicity, but oocytes were also affected at the highest concentration. These results show that there are direct and indirect reproductive consequences of parental exposure to copper with implications for recruitment and subsequent colonization of polluted sediments for this ecologically and commercially important species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Volume128-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2013

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