MEPS 193:305-309 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/meps193305

High survival of neustonic zoea I larvae of American lobster Homarus americanus following short-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation (280 to 400 nm)

Carolina Alonso Rodriguez1,2, Howard I. Browman1,*, Jean-François St-Pierre1

1Maurice-Lamontagne Institute, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Division of Ocean Sciences, PO Box 1000, 850 Route de la Mer, Mont-Joli, Québec G5H 3Z4, Canada
2Département d'océanographie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310, allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada
* Corresponding author. Present address: Institute of Marine Research, Aquaculture Centre, Austevoll Aquaculture Research Station, 5392 Storebø, Norway. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Ultraviolet radiation (UV-B = 280 to 320 nm; UV-A = 320 to 400 nm) is harmful to the planktonic early life stages of some marine organisms. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada, measurements of the diffuse attenuation coefficients have indicated that the maximum depth to which 10% of the surface energy penetrates at 310 nm is 3 m. Thus, organisms residing in this surface layer are exposed to UV radiation. During the summer spawning season (May to September), the first zoeal larval stages of the American lobster Homarus americanus are present in the first 2 m of the water column during the day. Thus, H. americanus larvae are exposed to UV radiation. We incubated stage I larvae of H. americanus under an artificial light source that simulated the irradiance conditions measured at a depth of 1 m in the Gulf of St. Lawrence waters near solar noon. Three spectral exposure treatments were used: (1) UV-B+UV-A+PAR; (2) UV-A+PAR; (3) PAR only. Larvae were irradiated for 4 d (2 h d-1) and maintained thereafter under a natural photoperiod (fluorescent lamps) until first molt. Mortality was monitored daily throughout the experiment. There were no differences in mortality amongst the 3 spectral treatments. Larvae began dying at the same time and at the same rate independently of the spectral irradiation that they received. Thus, lobster larvae appear to be tolerant of short (2 h) exposures to UV radiation.

KEY WORDS: UV-B · UV-A · Ozone depletion · Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence · Secondary production

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