Effects of sewage-impacted sediment on reproduction in the benthic crustacean Leptocheirus plumulosus.


Several organic contaminants in sewage effluent have been shown to elicit an estrogenic response in juvenile fish. Comparatively little emphasis has been placed on assessing these effects in marine invertebrates, particularly benthic organisms inhabiting sediment where lipophilic contaminants tend to persist. The present study examined reproductive effects in the benthic crustacean Leptocheirus plumulosus exposed to sewage-impacted sediment from Jamaica Bay, New York. Data from chronic 28-day tests showed a 50% reduction in the average number of young (juveniles + embryos) produced per surviving female in exposures to sediment from Jamaica Bay (JB). Nonylphenol ethoxylate ('NPEO) concentrations at this site were measured at 44.2 microg/g dw, concentrations two orders of magnitude higher than reference site concentrations in central Long Island Sound (CLIS). Dose-response studies with nonylphenol (NP) amended reference sediment, however, did not significantly affect reproduction suggesting that other contaminants may have contributed to the effects observed.