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Pollution and meiofauna: field, laboratory, and mesocosm studies
Coull, B.C.; Chandler, G.T. (1992). Pollution and meiofauna: field, laboratory, and mesocosm studies. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 30: 191-271
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Meiofauna; Pollution; Marine

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  • Coull, B.C.
  • Chandler, G.T.

    Assessment of pollution effects on meiofauna depends on whet er a study is conducted in the field, laboratory or in mesocosms. In field studies, abundance of the major taxa, species diversity and community composition have been measured using univariate and multivariate statistics. In vitro laboratory tests primarily have tested toxicants in the aqueous phase, whereas in nature many toxicants are associated with the sediments. Most tests have been acute, where the end points are characterised by survival, mortality, modified behaviour, mutagenicity, and chromosomal aberrations. Chronic tests longer than 96h have determined full life-cycle and reproductive effects. As an intergrade between in vitro and field studies, mesocosm studies have successfully tested for longer-term population and community level effects. Pollutant effects on meiofauna depend on pollutant type, taxon, exposure levels and field and laboratory conditions. In organically polluted habitats, major taxon abundances have increased in half the studies and decreased in the others, but species diversities have consistently decreased. Crude oils are generally less toxic to meiofauna than refined oils. Crude fuel oils and oil dispersants are toxic to meiofauna at lower concentrations in vitro and in mesocosms than in the field. Oil dispersants alone, mixed, and/or combined with oil are usually more toxic than oil alone. With all metals, as concentrations increase, mortality increases and reproductive output decreases in vitro. Copepods are more affected by paired metal mixtures than by metals alone. Cadmium is less toxic to meiofauna than other metals, and methylmercury is more toxic than other forms of mercury. In the field, meiofaunal abundance and diversity at metal polluted sites have not been distinguished from unpolluted sites. Aqueous pesticides cause mortality and inhibit life-history progression with increasing concentration. Two sediment-associated pesticides cause little or no mortality, but reduced copepod fecundity. Pollutant mixtures inhibit life-history progressions in vitro, and in the field they cause synergistic reductions in meiofaunal abundance and diversity.

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