Heritable pollution tolerance in a marine invader

The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
Environmental Research (Impact Factor: 4.37). 02/2011; 111(7):926-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2010.12.007
Source: PubMed


The global spread of fouling invasive species is continuing despite the use of antifouling biocides. Furthermore, previous evidence suggests that non-indigenous species introduced via hull fouling may be capable of adapting to metal-polluted environments. Using a laboratory based toxicity assay, we investigated tolerance to copper in the non-indigenous bryozoan Watersipora subtorquata from four source populations. Individual colonies were collected from four sites within Port Hacking (Sydney, Australia) and their offspring exposed to a range of copper concentrations. This approach, using a full-sib, split-family design, tests for a genotype by environment (G×E) interaction. Settlement and complete metamorphosis (recruitment) were measured as ecologically relevant endpoints. Larval sizes were also measured for each colony. Successful recruitment was significantly reduced by the highest copper concentration of 80μgL(-1). While there was no difference in pollution tolerance between sites, there was a significant G×E interaction, with large variation in the response of colony offspring within sites. Larval size differed significantly both between sites and between colonies and was positively correlated with tolerance. The high level of variation in copper tolerance between colonies suggests that there is considerable potential within populations to adapt to elevated copper levels, as tolerance is a heritable trait. Also, colonies that produce large larvae are more tolerant to copper, suggesting that tolerance may be a direct consequence of larger size.

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    • "However, poisonous chemicals can have unintended consequences for non-target species (Boogaard et al. 2003) or sensitivity may decrease over time (e.g. McKenzie et al. 2011). Alternative barriers that target sensory mechanisms have been developed for bycatch reduction in fisheries and could be applied to invasive species prevention, including aquatic strobe lights, bubble curtains, sonic and infrasonic recordings or blasts, mercury lights, or electric screens that are designed to influence the capacity or motivation to move (Goodson 1997; Taft 2000; Southwood et al. 2008; Stoner and Kaimmer 2008). "
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    Biological Invasions 03/2015; 17(8). DOI:10.1007/s10530-015-0884-5 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    • "Differential sensitivity to metals in particular (Luoma & Rainbow 2005) can lead to shifts in the overall composition of a sessile community. Some species of solitary ascidian are adversely affected by increased Cu, while the bryozoan Watersipora subtorquata is largely Cu-tolerant (Johnston & Keough 2003; Dafforn et al. 2008; McKenzie et al. 2011). In this study, barnacles and ascidians were absent from the recruitment plates located within the marina, while bryozoans and hydroids occupied more space in the marina than in the outer channel sites. "
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    Biofouling 07/2013; DOI:10.1080/08927014.2013.805751 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    • "Among these, embryogenesis, settlement and metamorphosis are critical life-history phases for many organisms (e.g. [13], [14]), especially when exposed to anthropogenic stressors [15]–[17]. For sessile marine organisms, where adults are unable to escape unfavourable abiotic conditions, the importance of successful early stages is even more striking as it determines the viability of local adult populations [18]–[20]. "
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