Seasonal and annual variations in physiological and biochemical responses from transplanted marine bioindicator species Mytilus spp. during a long term field exposure experiment


In a pilot field study the long term response of transplanted bioindicator organisms Mytilus spp. was analyzed on the basis of physiological indices and biochemical measurements related to the energy budget. Three different time series with deployment times of eight to twelve months were compared according to seasonality and repeatability of the responses. Test organisms were incubated at a coastal station in the anthropogenically impacted estuary of the river Elbe and at a North Sea station located in vicinity to the Island of Helgoland in the German Bight. The stations differ in their hydrological as well as chemical characteristics. They can be discriminated by statistical factor analysis based on the measured biochemical parameter. Levels of all energy budget biomarker varied between seasons; however, the degree of variation of the specific response was differently expressed. The mussels deployed at Helgoland showed a reproducible high Condition Index in each sampling series and an oscillating Gonadosomatic Index representing the reproduction cycle. The lowest available energy was recorded in mussels at the estuarine sampling station compared to the off-shore station. This may be caused by the energetically costly maintenance of osmotic balance and consequently result in a lower amount of energy available for defense again chemical stress, growth and reproduction.
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