Marine Biology

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 283–287

Methylmercury tolerance of killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) embryos from a polluted vs non-polluted environment

  • J. S. Weis
  • P. Weis
  • M. Heber
  • S. Vaidya
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00397123

Cite this article as:
Weis, J.S., Weis, P., Heber, M. et al. Mar. Biol. (1981) 65: 283. doi:10.1007/BF00397123

Abstract

We have previously found great differences in susceptibility to methylmercury (meHg) among batches of eggs produced by different females. This study compares the range and distribution of susceptibility in two populations of killifish, one from a creek in Montauk, New York, USA a rather pristine area, the other from Pile's Creek in Linden, New Jersey, an area heavily impacted by metal and oil pollution. After treatment with 0.05 ppm meHg, the distribution of craniofacial defects in embryos of the Montauk population ranged from very tolerant to very susceptible. The distribution of cardiovascular defects also ranged from very tolerant to very susceptible. Skeletal defects were prevalent in most batches of eggs. However, in the Pile's Creek population, very few females produced susceptible eggs, and most batches were tolerant with respect to the three types of malformations, especially the craniofacial defects. The ability to adapt to pollution is one reason that this species has remained abundant in such a highly polluted area. The ability of some species to adapt to chronic pollution by developing tolerance is a phenomenon that should be considered in choosing organisms for routine bioassay procedures, since the results will depend on the degree to which the population has become tolerant to the toxicant.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. S. Weis
    • 1
  • P. Weis
    • 2
  • M. Heber
    • 1
  • S. Vaidya
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and PhysiologyRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyCollege of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyNewarkUSA