Successful reproduction is a determining factor for species survival. Pollution may impair reproductive success of adults through effects on gamete quality. Reproductive impairment of the sea urchin Anthocidaris crassispina upon chronic (4 weeks) exposure to 0.01 and 0.1 mg l⁻¹ Cd²⁺ was investigated. Criteria used for assessing gamete quality included sperm motility, egg morphology, fertilization rate and dynamics of first cleavage. A dose-response relationship was found between Cd²⁺ levels and changes in sperm motility, and percentage fertilization. Sperm motility, measured by computer-assisted sperm analysis, indicated that percent motile sperm, velocities, and percent sperm with normal trajectory were significantly affected by chronic exposure to ≥0.1 mg l⁻¹ Cd²⁺. A decline in sperm motility was also accompanied by a decrease in fertilization success of sea urchin sperm. Width/height ratio of sea urchin eggs was not affected by cadmium, but larger egg sizes were found when sea urchins were exposed to 0.1 mg l⁻¹ Cd²⁺. Male sea urchins exposed to Cd²⁺ produced poorer quality sperm, as indicated by a lower percent fertilization and lower cleavage rate, implying that male sea urchins were more sensitive than females to chronic Cd²⁺ exposure. Results of the present study provide an explanation of reproductive impairment in marine invertebrates upon chronic exposure to Cd²⁺. Copyright © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationAu, D. W. T., Lee, C. Y., Chan, K. L., & Wu, R. S. S. (2001). Reproductive impairment of sea urchins upon chronic exposure to cadmium. Part I: Effects on gamete quality. Environmental Pollution, 111(1), 1-9. doi: 10.1016/S0269-7491(00)00035-X
- Sperm motility
- Fertilization success
- Heavy metals
- Invertebrate reproduction