AB 3:187-193 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00075

Quantifying fecundity in Macoma balthica using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)

William Christopher Long1,3,*, Erin Bromage2,4, Rochelle D. Seitz1, Stephen Kaattari2

1Dept. of Biological Sciences, and 2Dept. of Environmental and Aquatic Animal Health, School of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, PO Box 1346, Gloucester Pt., Virginia 23062, USA
3Present address: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 647 Contees Wharf Road, PO Box 28, Edgewater, Maryland 21037, USA
4Present address: Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, 285 Old Westport Rd., North Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts 02747, USA
*Email:

ABSTRACT: Monoclonal antibodies specific to a heat shock protein 70-like protein expressed in the eggs of Macoma balthica (mb-HSP70) were employed to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to quantify fecundity in females. The assay was specific to egg tissue, with no demonstrable reactivity with juvenile or male tissues. The concentration of mb-HSP70 increased as the female gonads matured, necessitating the determination of a calibration curve for future experiments. The number of eggs in females was positively correlated with body mass index (BMI), and clams with a BMI <1.4 did not produce eggs. The estimated number of eggs per clam during the fall spawning period was similar to that observed in eastern North Atlantic populations in clams of similar size; clams with shell lengths from 16 to 18 mm had from 7000 to 60000 eggs apiece. Larger clams had up to 450000 eggs. This assay effectively quantifies eggs at any stage of gonadal development in which eggs can be distinguished microscopically and is easier and cheaper to perform than other techniques of comparable precision.


KEY WORDS: Macoma balthica · Fecundity · Egg · ELISA · Monoclonal antibodies · Heat shock protein


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Cite this article as: Long WC, Bromage E, Seitz RD, Kaattari S (2008) Quantifying fecundity in Macoma balthica using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Aquat Biol 3:187-193. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00075

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