Fluctuating asymmetry of Amphibalanus (Balanus) amphitrite (Cirripedia : Thoracica) in association with shore height and metal pollution

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-32
Journal / PublicationHydrobiologia
Volume621
Issue number1
Online published14 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

The level of fluctuating asymmetry (FA), which is defined as random deviations from perfect bilateral symmetry in the morphological traits of an organism, increases with increasing developmental instability, and it may be used as an indicator of environmental and/or genetic stresses. This study attempted to relate FA levels in the opercular plates of the barnacle Amphibalanus (Balanus) amphitrite with shore height and body trace metal concentrations. Barnacles were collected from both low and mid shores at six coastal locations with various degrees of marine pollution in Hong Kong. Four opercular traits, namely scutum length, tergum length, scutum width, tergum width were measured in the specimen while concentrations of five common trace metals (Cd, Cu, Cr, Mn and Zn) were determined in their body tissues using inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrophotometry. Among the four traits, only tergum length and scutum width fulfilled the assumption of FA while their measurement errors were low. Across all sites, mid-shore A. amphitrite consistently exhibited a significantly higher FA level in scutum width than that in low-shore barnacles, but FA levels in tergum length were similar between the two shore heights. These results suggested that FA was trait-dependent, and mid-shore barnacles were possibly under high physical stress, such as desiccation and high temperature, leading to high developmental instability. Although no positive association was observed between FA and metal contamination in low-shore A. amphitrite, FA level in tergum length significantly increased with decreasing body concentration of manganese (Mn) in these barnacles. Such a negative relationship may be explained by the mechanism of bioaccumulation and physiological role of Mn in A. amphitrite with respect to the formation of barnacle shell plates. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Research Area(s)

  • Barnacles, Developmental instability, Environmental stress, Fluctuating asymmetry, Heavy metals, Hong Kong

Citation Format(s)

Fluctuating asymmetry of Amphibalanus (Balanus) amphitrite (Cirripedia: Thoracica) in association with shore height and metal pollution. / Ho, Gigi W. C.; Leung, Kenneth M. Y.; Lajus, Dmitry L. et al.
In: Hydrobiologia, Vol. 621, No. 1, 03.2009, p. 21-32.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review