Chemical industry effluent impacts on reproduction and biochemistry in a North Sea population of viviparous blenny (Zoarces viviparus)

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Abstract

The reproduction biology and some biochemicalbiomarkers of viviparous blenny (Zoarcesviviparus L.) were studied in a Swedish fjord on theNorth Sea coast which receives chemical industrywaste-water. Data for comparison purposes wereobtained from a reference area used in the nationalmonitoring programme. The viviparous blenny has agestation period of 4–5 months. By analysing larvalsurvival and growth, reproductive performance wasshown to be significantly reduced in female blennyexposed to petrochemical effluents. Larval growth wassignificantly lowered, and the proportion of femalescarrying dead juveniles was higher than at thereference site. Also, the mean number of deadjuveniles per female was significantly higher in theeffluent area. Among sampling sites, responses were negatively correlated with the distance from theeffluent outlets. The narrow age distribution ofadults in exposed areas, and the difference in catchper unit effort, indicated increased adult mortality.No significant improvements in reproductiveperformance were seen when results were compared withprevious studies from 1988–1989. Significantdifferences in a set of enzymes associated with thedetoxification of xenobiotics, or the antioxidantdefence against organo- and oxyradicals, confirmed theexposure of the studied population to organic pollutants.