, Volume 125, Issue 1, pp 171-176

Copper effects on reproductive stages of Baltic Sea Fucus vesiculosus

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Abstract

Copper is an active ingredient in many antifouling products, and pleasure boats are estimated to be the major single source of copper pollution in Swedish coastal waters. For this reason, the effects of copper were studied on egg volume, fertilization, germination and development of apical hairs of Baltic Sea Fucus vesiculosus L. Germination was the most sensitive stage and was studied at different concentrations of copper, different salinities and different ages of zygotes. Low concentrations of copper, 2.5 μg Cu l-1, added to natural brackish water before fertilization, adversely affected germination at the ambient, suboptimal salinity of 6‰, suggesting that as little as a doubling of the copper levels in the studied area will severely affect the germination frequency of F. vesiculosus. The addition of 20 μg Cu l-1 caused about 70 to 80% decline in germination at 6‰S but also at 20‰S which is higher than optimum. At a salinity close to optimum (14‰S) no negative effect was noticed on germination when 20 μg Cu l-1 was added. The results suggest that the degree of salinity stress acting upon the zygotes is a more important factor for the response to copper than the influence of salinity on metal availability. When 2.5 to 60 μg Cu l-1 was added to the medium 24 h after fertilization, the zygotes were more resistant, resembling the response of adult marine fucoid tissue.

Communicated by T. M. Fenchel, Helsingør