Thiamine deficiency has been linked to early mortality syndrome in salmonids in the Great Lakes. This study was conducted to compare thiamine concentrations in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) and Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) eggs from sites with high embryo mortality and high exposure to organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) (Lakes Apopka and Griffin, and Emeralda Marsh, Florida, USA) to those from sites that have historically exhibited low embryo mortality and low OCPs (Lakes Woodruff and Orange, Florida). During June-July 2000, 20 alligator clutches were collected from these sites, artificially incubated, and monitored for embryo mortality. Thiamine and OCPs were measured in one egg/clutch. During February 2002, 10 adult female bass were collected from Emeralda Marsh and Lake Woodruff and mature ovaries analyzed for thiamine and OCP concentrations. Although ovaries from the Emeralda Marsh bass contained almost 1,000-fold more OCPs compared with the reference site, Lake Woodruff, there were no differences in thiamine concentrations between sites (11,710 vs. 11,857 pmol/g). In contrast, alligator eggs from the reference site had five times the amount of thiamine compared with the contaminated sites (3,123 vs. 617 pmol/g). Similarly, clutches with > 55% hatch rates had significantly higher concentrations of thiamine compared with clutches with <54% hatch rates (1,119 vs. 201 pmol/g). These results suggest that thiamine deficiency might be playing an important role in alligator embryo survival but not in reproductive failure and recruitment of largemouth bass. The cause(s) of this thiamine deficiency are unknown but might be related to differences in the nutritional value of prey items across the sites studied and/or to the presence of high concentration of contaminants in eggs. ?? Wildlife Disease Association 2004.
Additional publication details
Organochlorine pesticides and thiamine in eggs of largemouth bass and American alligators and their relationship with early life-stage mortality