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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 419:121-128 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08872

Local anthropogenic contamination affects the fecundity and reproductive success of an Arctic amphipod

Lis Bach1,2,*, Astrid Fischer1,3, Jakob Strand1

1Department of Marine Ecology, National Environmental Research Institute, Aarhus University, Denmark
2Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark
3Department of Toxicology, Wageningen University and Research Centrum, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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ABSTRACT: This study investigates whether adaptation to life in contaminated Arctic areas carries a cost for the populations in terms of reduced fecundity and reproductive success. The benthic amphipod, Orchomenella pinguis occurs in huge densities in both clean and  contaminated sites. O. pinguis was collected at contaminated sites in an open fjord adjacent to Sisimiut, West-Greenland, and at clean sites outside the fjord exposed to open waters. The broods of gravid females were analyzed for number of embryos, embryonic developmental stage and number of embryo abnormalities. Further, a sample from 3 of the sites was sexed and analyzed for intersex occurrence. The individuals collected at the most contaminated site had significantly higher fecundity (i.e. reproductive potential), but also higher frequency of embryo aberrations resulting in lower fertility (i.e. actual reproductive success) compared to clean site individuals. These results indicated a cost of living in highly contaminated environments in terms of reduced reproductive success. This study confirms the potential of the benthic amphipod O. pinguis as a bioindicator for assessments of reproductive effects of contaminants in the Arctic marine environment.


KEY WORDS: Orchomenella pinguis · Embryo development · Embryo aberrations · Greenland


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Cite this article as: Bach L, Fischer A, Strand J (2010) Local anthropogenic contamination affects the fecundity and reproductive success of an Arctic amphipod. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 419:121-128. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08872

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