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Effects of dietary methylmercury on reproduction of fathead minnows

Environmental Science and Technology

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, , , and
DOI: 10.1021/es011120p

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Abstract

We examined effects of dietary methylmercury (MeHg) on reproduction of fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Juvenile fish were fed one of four diets until sexual maturity (phase 1): a control diet (0.06 μg Hg g-1 dry weight) and three diets contaminated with MeHg at 0.88 (low), 4.11 (medium), and 8.46 μg Hg g-1 dry weight (high). At sexual maturity, male and female fish were paired, again fed one of the four diets, and allowed to reproduce (phase 2). To assess effects of MeHg during gametogenesis, some fish were fed diets during phase 2 that differed from those during phase 1. Spawning success of pairs fed the same diet during phases 1 and 2 was 75% for controls and 46%, 50%, and 36% for the low-, medium-, and high-MeHg treatments, respectively. Spawning success of pairs fed a contaminated diet during phase 1 and a control diet during phase 2 was 63%, 40%, and 14% for the low-, medium-, and high-MeHg treatments, respectively, whereas exposure to dietary MeHg only during phase 2 did not reduce spawning success. Dietary MeHg delayed spawning, and days to spawning was positively correlated with concentration of total mercury in the carcasses of test fish. MeHg reduced the instantaneous rate of reproduction of fish fed the same diets during phases 1 and 2. Both the gonadosomatic index and reproductive effort of female fish were inversely correlated with mercury in carcasses, whereas developmental and hatching success of embryos, 7-d survival, and 7-d growth of larvae were unrelated to mercury concentrations in parental fish or their diets. MeHg decreased reproduction of adult fathead minnows at dietary concentrations encountered by predatory fishes in aquatic systems with MeHg-contaminated food webs, implying that exposed fish populations could be adversely affected by this widespread contaminant.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Effects of dietary methylmercury on reproduction of fathead minnows
Series title:
Environmental Science and Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es011120p
Volume
36
Issue:
5
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description:
7 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Science and Technology
First page:
877
Last page:
883
Number of Pages:
7