MEPS 285:89-96 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps285089

Responses of polychaete Hydroides elegans life stages to copper stress

Zhi-Cai Xie1,3, Nga Cheung Wong1, Pei-Yuan Qian2, Jian-Wen Qiu1,*

1Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China 2Department of Biology, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China 3Present address: State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei 430072, PR China
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Two experiments were performed to examine the sensitivity of Hydroides elegans to copper stress. The first experiment tested the development of 4 distinct early stages in copper solutions from 10 to 250 µg l-1. Copper significantly reduced survivorship of the newly released oocyte and trochophore stages at concentrations ≥10 µg l-1, and of the 2-cell and blastula stages at ≥25 µg l-1. The EC50 values were 47, 50, 71 and 29 µg Cu l-1 for the newly released oocytes, 2-cell embryos, blastulae and trochophores, respectively. After 2 h into the bioassay, where Isochrysis galbana was used as food for the trochophores, algal sorption resulted in a reduction in copper concentration from 32% in the 10 µg l-1 treatment to 6% in the 250 µg l-1 treatment. Duration of development did not significantly differ among the treatments, except in the oocyte to 2-cell stage where higher copper concentration resulted in longer developmental time. In the second experiment, adult H. elegans were exposed to copper concentrations from 125 to 4000 µg l-1 for 48 h. Significant mortality occurred only at copper concentrations ≥500 µg l-1. This study thus shows that the embryogenesis and larval development of H. elegans are sensitive to copper stress, and that algal sorption can substantially reduce soluble copper concentration and may affect the larval toxicity result.

KEY WORDS: Hydroides · Polychaete · Copper · Toxicity · Life cycle

Full text in pdf format