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Survey of imposex in dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus) from North Sea coasts
Harding, M.J.C.; Davies, I.M.; Bailey, S.K.; Rodger, G.K. (1999). Survey of imposex in dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus) from North Sea coasts. Appl. Organometal. Chem. 13(7): 521-538
In: Applied Organometallic Chemistry. Longman Scientific & Technical: Harlow, Essex. ISSN 0268-2605, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

    Coastal waters; Distribution; Imposex; Tributyltin; Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Harding, M.J.C.
  • Davies, I.M., more
  • Bailey, S.K.
  • Rodger, G.K.

    Following a North Sea Task Force (NSTF) initiative in 1991, and funding from the Department of Environment (DOE), The Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department Marine Laboratory (SOAEFD), Aberdeen, was awarded a contract to assess the impact of tributyltin compounds in dogwhelks in all North Sea coastal waters. These waters were surveyed in 1991 and 1992 to evaluate the distribution and effects of tributylin (TBT) compounds on the common dogwhelk, Nucella lapillus. Wild and, where necessary, transplanted dogwhelks were analysed for imposex.

    Historical records indicate that Nucella lapillus was once present, on suitable substrates, around the whole of the North Sea coastline. Wild dogwhelks could be collected in all countries except Belgium and Germany, where the species is present only on Helgoländ (in numbers too small to be sampled).

    All wild populations of dogwhelks showed imposex. Near sites of intense boating activity, all populations examined contained some sterile females. At all sites where transplants were recovered, the dogwhelks were affected by TBT. Prolonged survival of dogwhelks at any of these sites would not be expected, except perhaps at Tørsminde in Denmark.

    All sites studied were categorized with reference to their potential for the maintenance of self-sustaining Nucella populations. All sites in the southern part of the North Sea (i.e. the coastlines of Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and southern Denmark) were placed in Category C (reduced egg capsule production) or D (adult females expected to be sterile).

    In Norway, sites near large harbours had only sterile females in the population (Category D), whilst those further from harbours probably had reduced egg capsule production (Category C). In Sweden, all wild sites were affected but probably had no reduction in egg capsule production (Category B).

    In France and the UK, sites near large harbours or areas of small-boat activity probably had reduced egg capsule production (Category C). Sites further from sources of TBT contamination probably do not have reduced egg capsule production ( Category B). One site on the north east coast of Scotland shows effects consistent with an area distant from a source of TBT pollution (Category A).

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